Spider Bread 8.000

Stacy Zarin Goldberg for The Washington Post; food styling by Bonnie S. Benwick/The Washington Post

Mar 7, 2019

Ari Weinzweig, whose Ann Arbor, Mich., restaurant serves this dish, says, “Spider bread is special because it has a thin but luscious layer of cream layered into the middle of the cornmeal.” It’s good freshly made at dinner and is comforting served slightly warmed the next morning for breakfast.

According to the Journal of Antiques, the name is said to come from cast-iron pans called spiders, because they stood on three legs. The cakes and breads made in them were named for the vessel.

You’ll need a medium, ovenproof saute pan.


When you scale a recipe, keep in mind that cooking times and temperatures, pan sizes and seasonings may be affected, so adjust accordingly. Also, amounts listed in the directions will not reflect the changes made to ingredient amounts.

Tested size: 8 servings

  • 1 cup whole milk
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons cider vinegar
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/2 cup flour
  • 1/2 cup coarsely ground cornmeal
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 tablespoon baking powder
  • 1/2 tablespoon kosher salt
  • 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
  • 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, cut into small pieces
  • 1 cup heavy whipping cream


Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

Stir together the milk, cider vinegar and eggs in a large liquid measuring cup.

Combine the flour, cornmeal, sugar, baking powder, salt and baking soda in a separate mixing bowl. Make a well in the center of the flour mixture, then gradually stir in the milk mixture until well incorporated.

Warm your ovenproof saute pan over low heat. Add the butter pieces; once they have melted, swirl to coat the bottom of the pan.

Pour in the batter; cook over medium-low heat for 1 1/2 minutes, or until bubbles begin to form around the edges. Remove from the heat.

Starting in the center of the pan and working toward the outside, slowly pour the cup of heavy cream into the batter, in a swirl pattern. Transfer to the oven; bake (middle rack) for 17 to 19 minutes. The bread should be golden and its center should be soft and jiggle a bit. Do not overcook, or the bread will lose its custardy texture.

Serve warm (in which case it will resemble spoon bread), or cool completely, then cut into soft wedges for serving.

Rate it

Recipe Source

Adapted from a recipe by Zingerman’s Roadhouse in Ann Arbor, Mich.

Tested by Ed Lichorat and Bonnie S. Benwick.

Email questions to the Food Section.

Email questions to the Food Section at food@washpost.com.