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Short'nin Bread

This recipe is simple, and so old that I have no idea how or where it originated. My Mother made it for us when we were young, and she said her Mother had made it for her 10 children when they were young. It was one of my Grandfather's favorite desserts. It's rich and will remind you of a huge soft molasses cookie. I'm sure it was considered to be an economical "cake" when my Mother was young, as my grandfather grew his own sugarcane. It was still relatively cheap when I was young as well, but the cost of molasses has gone up considerably in the last 70 years. :-)



  • 2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/2 tsp. ground cinnamon
  • 1/2 tsp. ground nutmeg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. baking soda
  • 1/2 cup buttermilk
  • 1/4 cup plus 2 Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 1 cup molasses (I use the yellow label Grandma's Molasses)
  • 1 egg (slightly beaten)


Combine flour and spices in a large bowl and mix them well.

Dissolve baking soda in buttermilk, and stir it well.

Combine molasses and butter in a heavy saucepan and bring to a boil stirring constantly. Remover from the burner and add it to the flour mixture along with the buttermilk and baking soda. Stir, and add the beaten egg stirring it in quickly.

Mix everything together and pour batter into a greased and floured 10 inch cast-iron frying pan if you have one. If you do not have a cast-iron skillet, then use the heaviest baking pan (10 inch) that you have. Grease and flour it first.


Bake for 25-30 minutes in 350 degree F oven. Cool in pan for 10 minutes, then invert onto plate and cut into wedges.

Servings: 10
Time:20 Minutes Preparation Time
30 Minutes Cooking Time

By Julia from Boca Raton, FL

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February 20, 20110 found this helpful

No wonder Mama's little baby loved it! It sounds great!

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February 20, 20110 found this helpful

Thanks for sharing this. I always wondered what "Short'nin Bread" was, and this sounds delicious!

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February 20, 20110 found this helpful

I just knew this had to be one of your delicious recipes Julia, my mouth is watering. As soon as I can get some buttermilk we are going to be eat'n Short'nin bread. Do you think reconstituted powdered buttermilk would work, I do have that on hand?

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February 21, 20110 found this helpful

You don't have to wait to get buttermilk' make your own by measuring 1 TBSP vinegar in a measuring cup then fill rest to 1 C measure of regular milk. Wait 5-10 mins for it to thicken or curdle then use as though for buttermilk. This works for all recipes using buttermilk & one doesn't have any.

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February 21, 20110 found this helpful

Is the molasses the only sweetener in this bread?

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February 21, 20110 found this helpful

You sold me on this one. It sounds so good!

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February 22, 20110 found this helpful

I agree with Indianone. We seldom have buttermilk on hand, so we just use either lemon juice (makes the best) or vinegar.


I tablespoon in an 8oz cup, then fill with milk to make a cup.
Use 1/2 tablespoon, and fill to 1/2 cup for less. You get the picture.

Just let it sit for a little bit after mixing, and you'll have buttermilk or the reasonable facimile.

I have to try this Julia. You have never once steered me wrong, so I'm going to make this recipe just as you wrote
it. I can't wait now. My husband is laughing at me, but that's OK. He just won't get any of my Short'nin Bread. LOL

I'll be "Putting on the Skillet on Thursday" (my day off this week)

Thank you for sharing so much with us.


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February 22, 20110 found this helpful

This recipe is a nice surprise Julia. We sang the little song when we were kids too, but I always thought they were singing about cornbread. I never realized there were different kinds of molasses, but I'll hunt that one you mentioned, and make some Short'nin Bread just for fun. It sounds easy enough and my grandkids will love it most likely. The like everything sweet.




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February 22, 20110 found this helpful

Once again another mouth watering winner from Momma Julia's southern kitchen.I can't wait to make this one.
Thank you ladies for the homemade buttermilk tip as well.
One question.Can this recipe be doubled successfully?
Thanks for sharing again. ;)

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February 22, 20110 found this helpful

I've never tried doubling it, Keeper60, but I don't see any reason that it wouldn't. If you used a 10" iron skillet, it'd
be very, very thick. That could make a problem in the baking time and temperature. I think I'd be more inclined to make 2 separate "cakes / breads".


As for using the dried buttermilk, I've not tried that either latrtatr. If you do try it, you could let us know how it works. I know that not everyone keeps fresh buttermilk the way I do, but I use it to make biscuits, and chocolate cake, so we almost always have it in the fridge. I'm the only one who drinks it though.

The molasses is the only sweetner IndianOne. It's not an overly sweet cake, but if it isn't sweet enough for you, try apple jelly on it. That is delicious. It's sweet enough to make a slice of cheddar cheese taste like Heaven just the way it is.

Another little trick for those who aren't sure they like the distinct flavor of molasses, try adding half molasses and half syrup (cane syrup or even corn syrup). Never tried mixing it with maple flavored syrup. I don't think they'd go together very well. My Mother always had a jar full of Molasses cookies up on top of the "ice-box". I mean a real ice-box too. Later it
sat on top of the refrigerator my father bought. I didn't think much of it though. I'd always loved getting real icicles from the ice-man.

We still buy cane syrup made in GA from a fella in north Florida who goes up there to get it, so if I don't have quite enough molasses (Grandma's yellow label is unsulphured and is mild), then I'll finish it up with my cane syrup. I've never lost one of these Short'nin Breads, but I don't make them as often as I did when my own children were younger.

Thank you to everyone who has left such interesting feedback.
I hope you enjoy making your Short'nin Bread.


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February 22, 20110 found this helpful

I always thought "Short'nin Bread" was just a children's song, and never knew it was something real to cook or bake.
My family loves Gingerbread, and I make it with molasses, so I'm going to try this recipe Julia. It is both interesting
and looks like it'd be fun to make.

Thank you for sharing it.


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February 22, 20110 found this helpful

Thank you so much for posting quickly re recipe you submitted. It is really appreciated because if I am not sure about a recipe ingredient, instruction etc., I can't make it & I certainly want to make Short'nin Bread!

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February 23, 20110 found this helpful

I can remember the cute little song, and I remember eating this when I was a kid, but I'd forgotten how easy it is to make. I also like to drink good buttermilk Julia. I'll have to drag out my old iron skillet and whip up some Short'nin Bread for my hubby who has developed a serious
sweet tooth since he retired.

Thank you so much for bringing back the good memories.


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February 24, 20110 found this helpful

Well, Julia, you knew my curiosity would be inflamed until I tried this, and you were right. It was, and I did. Now, I'll probably have to make short'nin bread every weekend. My kids thought it was "fried" gingerbread, and gobbled it up. It kinda looks like fried gingerbread, and I must say that I like it too. It is just as easily put together as it sounds.

You mentioned putting apple jelly on it, and I tried that too, but the bread was plenty sweet to suit us without it.

Definitely a winner / keeper.

Thank you for sharing your recipe.

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