Why Duff Goldman Bakes His Cornbread With Oil Instead Of Butter

Cornbread is often considered a Southern staple, but Southerners are not the only ones who love it. This quick bread that goes perfectly with a bowl of chili or alongside your favorite barbecue has found a fanbase in every corner of the United States. Over the years, many different versions of cornbread have found their way onto the dinner table in the form of Johnnycakes, corn pone, and hushpuppies. But baked cornbread is still a favorite. Sure, everyone knows Southerners aren't jumping on the bandwagon to make their cornbread sweet by adding sugar and creating a more cake-like bread, but that's the beauty of this baked good — you can customize its taste to suit your preference.

"Ace of Cakes" star Duff Goldman does just that when he makes his version of this classic. While traditionalists might call a foul for messing with perfection, Goldman shared on Twitter that he likes to use vegetable oil in place of butter when he makes cornbread. While butter brings a velvety buttery flavor to cornbread, Goldman says oil has its merits as well, depending on your personal preference, and naysayers should hold their tongue before bashing Goldman's chosen fat.

Oil changes cornbread's texture

Goldman said on Twitter that he uses oil because he likes his cornbread "really sweet" and "really crumbly" and vegetable oil helps achieve that texture. Not to mention, he likes to slather that butter on his bread. Using oil will make your cornbread tender and moist while butter will give you heavier bread. 

Why do you get such different qualities from these fats? This is largely due to the fact that at room temperature, oil is a liquid while butter is a solid. Oil is all fat while butter is made up of solids and liquids, which can lead to evaporation and loss of moisture. Additionally, if you use oil to make your cornbread, it is considered neutral in taste and allows the other flavors of this bread to shine through.

The celebrity chef notes that he favors the use of cake flour as well to help achieve the crumbly bite he loves, in addition to a fair amount of sugar for that sweet taste. But that's not all Goldman does to achieve the texture he loves. He revealed he likes to preheat the pans so the cornbread batter immediately starts cooking on the outside. This helps create an outer surface that is crispy on the outside and tender on the inside. 

To solidify that crispy crust, Goldman says it needs to be exposed to the air. Do not leave it in the pan or it will steam and you will deny yourself crunchy bliss.