Appalachian Food Heritage

Gritted Bread 2

How to make gritted bread
A few of you may remember Pap and me making gritted bread last year. Pap remembers 2 different ways his Mother made what she called gritted bread. The one we tried last year isn’t something I’d care to try again, but since then I’ve wanted to try the other version Pap recalls from childhood.

Pap says this ‘fresh’ version of gritted bread was made at the end of the growing season-when the corn began to harden-but wasn’t dried completely.

We used a few ears of our field corn-since it’s much closer to what they grew when Pap was a boy-instead of the sweet corn most of us are familiar with today.

Working in the cornfield

Wild Bill had to tag along to the garden-he has a penchant for corn-or actually any thing humans have that he doesn’t. Usually he steals what he can and takes it to one of his hideouts-one of which is underneath my back deck.

Runouts in corn
See the place where the kernels are missing? Pap says oldtimers called that a ‘run out’ and  said it was caused by lack of rain. Makes sense considering the dry summer we’ve had here this year.

Pap used Granny’s grater to grate the corn. He said when he was a boy most folks had a homemade grater. Some folks used nothing more than an old can with nail holes punched in the end or side while others used more elaborate ones made from a piece of tin stretched over a board with parts of the tin tore back to form the ‘graters’.

After we had about 1 1/2 cups of grated corn-Pap added 2/3 cup of plain flour, 1 teaspoon of salt, 1 teaspoon baking powder, and 1 teaspoon of sodie (baking soda)

Pap beat 1 one egg and added it to a cup of milk

He then added 2 tablespoons of bacon grease-that he kept from breakfast that morning-to the milk/egg mixture

Pap poured the milk/egg/grease mixture into the flour/corn mixture and stirred it all up. Seems like he might have added a little more milk-but I can’t remember for sure. Pap said the batter should be like pancake batter. He greased his spider pan-heated it-and then poured in the batter.

Gritted Bread
Pap said he should have fried it like potato cakes but since we were talking-he forgot and poured the whole pan full. Once it was browned on one side-he cut down the middle and flipped both pieces so the other side could cook.

So what did I think-I liked it! When we made the first version of gritted bread-I could only imagine eating it if I had too. But this 2nd version I liked and I could see how folks would enjoying eating it plain or with a smear of honey which is how Pap likes it.

Have you ever had gritted bread-or even heard of it?


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  • Reply
    April 14, 2016 at 1:41 pm

    My grandmother would fix it we called it gritty bread she take the corn that started to get hard and grate it then make a loaf pan of it baked in the oven wish I could bring back those days can’t but have precious memories.

  • Reply
    Mary Holcomb Brock
    January 14, 2012 at 5:09 pm

    All this talk about bread makes me soooo hungry!
    Does anyone else call cane syrup malasses /lasses except me? Or is that a SC thing?
    Stay warm

    • Reply
      Johnnie Hawks
      August 29, 2019 at 3:25 pm

      We always called it molasses here in Surry Co NC

  • Reply
    December 12, 2010 at 6:21 pm

    Oh this does bring back memories. I can remember my Grandmother (1884) telling me about Gritted bread..
    She said her family never had to have it because only people who did not store enough corn to do them until the next year would have to make gritted bread. She seemed to be very proud that her family had enough…
    She ate it at a neighbors house and said it was the best thing ever. It seemed for her family to make it would be to admit that they did not make proper preparations for the year ahead.
    I asked how it was made and she said they took a piece of tin and made holes in it with a nail and then grated the corn over that and made it up very much like cornbread.
    I’ve never eaten gritted bread but I might try it sometime…. Hmm….

  • Reply
    August 27, 2010 at 10:07 am

    What a good day that must have been, walking in the garden with your Pap and Wild Bill then spending time learnin’ and cookin’. The gritted bread looks so good, now I’m hungry.

  • Reply
    Fishing Guy
    August 25, 2010 at 3:44 pm

    Tipper: What an interesting bread.

  • Reply
    Miss Cindy
    August 25, 2010 at 12:57 pm

    I’ve never eaten or made gritted bread. However, I’ve heard of it. The Deer Hunter’s PaPaw (his dad’s father) used to tell me about Gritter Bread and I bet it is the same thing. Try as I would I was never able to get enough information from him to try making it!

  • Reply
    Matthew Timbs
    August 25, 2010 at 8:21 am

    Every year about this time (when the corn began to get tough) we’d have a big family dinner but instead of having a typical potluck, we’d have a supper of cornbread and milk. We’d have “Gritty Bread” (what you call Gritted Bread) and normal cornbread, milk and buttermilk. I still love cornbread and milk.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 24, 2010 at 10:53 am

    B. Ruth–Great addition about the uses for inedible portions of corn, and I’ll add two more. A section of corn cob with a peg wood inserted in the middle makes a great striker for a friction-type turkey call. Also, corn cobs soaked in kerosene are a mighty fine substitute for kindlin’ wood, although I guess precious few folks split kindlin’ anymore.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    August 24, 2010 at 8:43 am

    Becky-we mostly grow a few rows of field corn to make hominy with-and because since Pap and Granny grew up eating it-they still have a hankering for it. I like the hominy part-but for eating fresh corn-I’ll stick with the Silver Queen : )

  • Reply
    August 23, 2010 at 11:02 am

    I would sure like to try that.
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  • Reply
    August 23, 2010 at 10:22 am

    Grandma made something just like this. She fried hers in small rounds just like pancakes. She just called them corncakes and we ate them for breakfast. Several times a year I still make them for us. Except, I don’t have any field corn so have to use creamed canned corn.
    Not quite the same, but pretty good anyway. Ahhhh, the memories of a cool fall morning and the smell of corncakes!!!!!

  • Reply
    August 23, 2010 at 7:03 am

    I would love to try this, Tipper. But I can’t get any kind of corn to grow here on the farm. Thought I had a chance this year, but then it stopped raining.
    By the way, I’m curious, why do you grow field corn? Wasn’t it usually grown to feed live stock in the past?
    Wish I could get over there to Georgia to the festival. Maybe one of these days when my rich Uncle gets outta the poor house, I’ll have money to travel a little.

  • Reply
    Sheryl Paul
    August 22, 2010 at 11:38 pm

    Oh that does sound good, I don’t recall any of my folks making it though. I would love to give it a try. Maybe I’ll drop by the festival and introduce myself.

  • Reply
    Ginny Hartzler
    August 22, 2010 at 11:02 pm

    This looks really good as a finished bread! Kind of like cornbread, maybe.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2010 at 10:11 pm

    I have had gritted bread but it’s been a long time. You certainly bring back the old time memories for me!

  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    August 22, 2010 at 7:33 pm

    There is a highly sought after #8 Griswald cast iron skillet that is marked with a spider and web in a circle on the back center of the pan…it also has “Erie” type in the middle of the spider’s body…hence, I believe the spider pan name for the skillet evolved…..also on top of the pan it is marked ERIE in capital letters…made between 1880 and 1907….some pans lose the mark over the years with baked on cooking crud..or with wear over outdoor grills, etc..
    We’ve only seen one or two in our cast iron skillet dealings…
    There is cast iron cookware that sits on/over the fire with long legs also called a spider…
    So check the back of Paps…and don’t let it get away…

  • Reply
    August 22, 2010 at 4:49 pm

    Kim-I have no clue why Pap and Granny-and my husband’s family call the pan a spider pan. But they all do and I’ve heard other folks call it that too. If you do a google search-you’ll see most spider pans have long long legs attached to the bottom of them so they could stand over the fire.
    Blind Pig The Acorn
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  • Reply
    August 22, 2010 at 4:46 pm

    Cheryl-Granny and Pap still eat cornbread and buttermilk-in a tall glass. Usually as a before bedtime snack : )
    Blind Pig The Acorn
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  • Reply
    B. Ruth
    August 22, 2010 at 3:38 pm

    Waste not want not…..
    No sense lettin’ the dryin’ corn go to waste…or to the chickens..when a big old pan of gritted bread can be made…
    Yes, I’ve heard of gritted bread…but only ate it a time or two when back at granny’s…
    Love the post…and good luck on your trip to the craft fair…hope you sell a bundle and have a great time…
    PS to add to Jims comment there is a use for all of the corn,
    Well shucks, (pun intended) there is corn cob pipes, chicken feather toy cob-darts and buckets of (out-house) cobs, now this could be a mountaineer tall tale, but told to me by my Dad, LOL..then there are cornshuck dolls, and shucks used to tie the tamales in…and shocks for cattle feed, and Halloween..etc. on and on….and by the way our cat loves to eat the little germ if any are left on the fresh boiled cob after supper…

  • Reply
    August 22, 2010 at 3:21 pm

    Hi, i misplaced your eamil and wanted to tell you when you get a minute, drop by this blog, it has your kind of music but in Irish. I think you will love her post. she lives in sweden.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    That looks very much like what we call fried cornbread except ours is made with cornmeal.
    That looks really good. I wouldn’t mind trying some of that myself.

  • Reply
    Cheryl Soehl
    August 22, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Never had gritted bread, but Mama used to make spoon bread for us — don’t know anybody that makes it anymore and I’d love to have a good recipe. One thing Mama used to make and eat that I never could get my mouth around was this — she would crumble up left over corn bread in a glass and pour buttermilk over it and eat it with a long teaspoon. Depression food for sure!

  • Reply
    Kim Campbell
    August 22, 2010 at 1:34 pm

    I have never heard of gritted bread! It looks good. Also, I never knew that sort of pan was called a “spider pan”. We have one. How did it get it’s name?

  • Reply
    August 22, 2010 at 11:16 am

    What a wonderful “Touch of the Past”. I didn’t think anyone made
    gritted bread anymore, except my
    aunt Toots who usually shares some
    with me. She bakes hers and uses
    streaked lean grease in the mix. I
    prefer corn bread flitters fried on top of the stove. Goes really
    well with port-n-beans. The older
    (best) generation had that as common as we do coffee…Ken

  • Reply
    August 22, 2010 at 10:48 am

    I had never heard the term gritted bread. Think I might try this soon! Wish I were closer…I’d love to come to the Festival. Have fun!

  • Reply
    August 22, 2010 at 10:05 am

    i’ve never heard of it before but it sure looks delicious! mmmmm…

  • Reply
    August 22, 2010 at 9:46 am

    Yum – that gritted bread looks good. I think it’s the bacon grease that makes it! I could imagine packing some of that in a napkin and sticking it in the bottom of a lunch pail. It seems funny for your dog to eat corn… but I remember the last time we got fresh corn, my dog loved chewing on the husks once we shucked it.

  • Reply
    Janice MacDaniels
    August 22, 2010 at 9:35 am

    Hey, I’m gonna try that recipe! and no… I’ve never heard of gritted bread 🙂

  • Reply
    kat magendie
    August 22, 2010 at 9:24 am

    I want some gritted bread! I’d love to use this recipe in a book . . . and give the credit to your Pap! what fun that would be.

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    August 22, 2010 at 9:10 am

    OF our neighbors! NEXT year! Drat it!!

  • Reply
    Vicki Lane
    August 22, 2010 at 9:09 am

    I’ve heard of it but never had it — and we didn’t grow any field corn this year nor did any or our neighbors. Maybe nest year — this sounds great!

  • Reply
    August 22, 2010 at 8:57 am

    Sounds so good. Wish I had some of it now. I sometimes dump a can of cream corn in when making cornbread. Sure satisfies the tummy.

  • Reply
    Jim Casada
    August 22, 2010 at 8:36 am

    Tipper–You are killing me on a Sunday morning. Yes, I’ve eaten gritted bread, and just thinking about the way Grandma Minnie made it has my salivary glands in involuntary overdrive. Her preparation was quite similar to Pap’s, with two minor differences. She used grease from fried streaked meat, probably because she usually fried slices of it anytime she served gritted bread. Also, she baked gritted bread rather than frying it (when she made it as a whole cake). She fried it only when making individual-size portions much like Pap said he should have done it. The corn of choice was field corn, in our case Hickory King.
    Thoughts of those halcyon days take my mind down all sorts of darkening avenues into the past associated with corn. Along with pork, it was the staple of old-time mountain life. Cornbread, corn dodgers, corn cakes, hoe cakes, corn on the cob, fried corn, creamed corn, hominy, grits, corn mush, and for some, corn likker. Daddy says that when he was a boy they even raised a type of corn which was fine milled much like wheat flour and sometimes substituted for it in baking–in effect,corn meal biscuits. Pigs were fattened on it and chickens ate corn scratch feed.
    One other thought, you need to devote a blog to what I consider the ultimate corn delicacy–cracklin’ cornbread. Merely thinking of a slice of this cholesterol-laced delicacy, slathered with a liberal application of home-churned butter, takes my mind down a wonderful road to a world we have largely lost. Just one caveat–if you (or Pap) make cracklin’ bread, kindly set an extra place and invite me over.
    Jim Casada

  • Reply
    August 22, 2010 at 8:34 am

    Now that’s very interesting! I first heard of gritted bread a few months ago as I was browsing for a simple bread recipe. I came across Bub’s Gritted Corn Bread at,194,158176-226195,00.html but … I’ve still got to learn how to make a decent homemade loaf. Thanks for this very informative post, Tipper.

  • Reply
    August 22, 2010 at 8:18 am

    yum, i might try this one. this is like the hoe cake daddy used to make only you added corn. this i could use frozen grated corn and give it a try. daddy always did his like pancakes and once in a while the whole pan full, i do it both ways. i love hoe cake and about every other month i will get a hankerin for one and make it for breakfast and put oodles of butter on it and sometime dip in cane syrup, now i am starving

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