MomsRetro Kitchen

Retro Kitchen Art and Recipe Tips

Corn, Cornmeal and Cornstarch Recipe Substitutions With a Johnnycake Recipe

Emergency Recipe Substitutions For Corn Ingredients Including Cornmeal and Cornstarch

Suddenly discovering you don’t have cornstarch, cornmeal or some other corn-based ingredient is no fun when you are in the middle of cooking your favorite recipe.

Knowing the equivalent or substitution for corny ingredients can save the day.  Here’s my page dedicated to corn recipe tips and substitutions.  Today Mom explains about corn starch, corn flour, cornmeal and about that Johnny Cake.

Don’t Call Me Corny:
Recipe Substitutions for Corn Flour, Corn Meal, Cornstarch and About That Johnny Cake

Several different types of cooking ingredients come from corn.  Corn bread, stews and even fried catfish recipes call for some form of corn.  If you are missing an ingredient knowing its equivalent or substitution can save grandma’s recipe from oblivion.  If you know the use of an ingredient, it is easier to come up with a substitution.

Baking with Corn Starch

Made from the endosperm of the corn kernel.  Cornstarch is used to thicken sauces, soups and stews.  Substitutions for cornstarch are as follows:

1 tablespoon cornstarch = 2/3 tablespoon arrowroot
OR 2 tablespoons all purpose flour
OR 1 tablespoon potato starch
OR 2 tablespoons quick-cooking (instant) tapioca.

Cooking with Corn Flour

Made by grinding whole corn kernels into a fine powder.  It is used in combination with other flours to make breads, or for breading items for frying.  Corn flour contains less gluten than wheat flour.  When baking, substituting corn flour instead of wheat flour will result in a heavier bread.  If you just need corn flour for breading, you can use regular flour instead.

Corn flour can also be used to thicken sauces.  If you don’t have corn flour, substitute with corn meal ground to a powder in a food processor.  You can also thicken sauces by substituting regular wheat flours in the same measurements.

About Cornmeal

Made from ground corn, usually without the corn skin or germ and has a coarse texture.  Cornmeal doesn’t contain gluten so it is generally used to make quick breads or breads with a cake like texture.  If you don’t have one cup of cornmeal substitute one cup of grits or polenta.

Cornmeal is sometimes called for in bread recipes for dusting a greased pan.  Dusting a pan helps keep the bread from sticking to the pan.  It also gives the bread crust an extra little crunch and a hint of flavor.

If you don’t have cornmeal you can substitute corn flour, regular wheat flour or any other flour to keep bread from sticking to the pan.  If you still want that crunchy texture try pulverizing some corn flakes instead.

Or try using another thinly ground grain like steel cut oats or cracked wheat.

Sauce Thickener Cooking Tip

Before adding any powdered thickener to a sauce it is a good idea to dissolve it first.  Use a little liquid from your sauce, or some broth, juice or water (about 1/2 cup or less).
Mix the powder and liquid together in a separate container.  When your thickener is dissolved into liquid, just stir it into your sauce with a fork or whisk.
This helps to cook up a smooth sauce with no lumps.

Johnny Cake, Hoecake and Other Corny Breads

Johnny Cake or Journey Cake is a simple quick bread made with corn and water plus sugar.  Hoecake technically, is a corn cake cooked over the fire on the back of a hoe (or shovel).  The method still works — but don’t forget to grease your shovel first, or the hoecake will stick!
Over the years we have added salt and leavening agents to our corn cake recipes for variations on the same corny theme.

Old-Fashioned Molasses

Corn Cake (Cornbread) Recipe
Here is a delicious old-fashioned recipe for Corn Cake using molasses as a sweetener instead of sugar.

1 cup corn mealcorn-bread
3⁄4 cup flour
31⁄2 teaspoons baking powder
1 teaspoon salt
1⁄4 cup molasses
3⁄4 cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon melted butter (or margarine)

Mix dry ingredients together in a bowl.  Add milk with molasses, egg well beaten, and butter.  Bake in shallow buttered pan (roughly 9×9 or 8×8) in 425 degree oven for twenty minutes.

Easy Molasses Measuring Tip
The easiest way to measure the molasses for this recipe is to use the same measuring cup as the milk.  First, pour the milk up to the 3/4 cup line.  Then add the molasses until it measures 1 cup.  If you still have room in the cup, add the egg and mix everything together before adding it to the dry ingredients.

Good luck and happy cooking!

Next Recipe Tips Page:  Recipe Tips; Chocolate, Bittersweet, Sweet or Powdered