What Exactly Is A Pone?

Here is another example of why our Hillbilly Housewife readers are the best! This description of the term “pone” is offered by CoachTurner in answer to another reader’s request for a “pone” recipe. I am pleased to post it here so more people will find it when they search. Thank you, CoachTurner, for your detailed response. The following is the response in full:

Hey y’all

Some confusion can be easily eliminated with some old words: A “pone” is the shape and method of cooking it. Like “loaf” goes in a particular shaped pan to bake it. The pone is traditionally cooked in a round cast iron skillet either baked in the oven or right over the fire with a lid. [but not on the stove top – that’s a different critter]

Whether it’s “corn pone”, “biscuit pone”, “wheat pone”, etc… just depends on what sort of dough you’re cooking in that skillet. Some even make sweet pone by adding sugar or a pone-pone by mixing flour and cornmeal in the same bread. Which dough you use isn’t what makes it “a pone” – that it’s been baked in that cast iron skillet to that shape makes it “a pone” and not “a loaf”. If you pan fry it or griddle it, it’s “a cake” such as pancake, johnny cake, hoe cake, etc… but essentially the same (though thinner) dough. If you deep fry it, it becomes “a fritter” and they’re real good too. Same dough (though thicker) often with stuff mixed in. If you boil it (about as thick as a drop biscuit), it’s “a dumpling”.

Cornbread made in a cast iron skilletPone Bread can be any bread dough prepared this way. Just toss it in the greased, pre-heated cast iron into a medium oven and bake away. I usually get interested in how done it is at about 25mins.

So, if you want a Biscuit Pone (really one really big biscuit) then mix a batch of your favorite biscuit dough a little thick and don’t overwork it. Preheat a greased cast iron skillet big enough to hold that dough (I make mine small, most folks use a 10″), toss it in the medium over (abt 350F) and let it go about 25 mins before you try the toothpick test. (exact same deal for any other dough though some bake up faster or slower and some will rise a lot)

Bacon fat or lard are the traditional greasers for that pan. This is a good thing because the fat seasons the pan and the bread dries it off. Great way to care for the cast iron. You can toss all sorts of bits ‘n pieces in it too. Of course, over the years they all became about the same as each other – but that’s how it were long-long ago.

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