1 1/2 cups Geechie Boy Mill samp grits, cooked (recipe below)
1/2 cup rendered bacon fat, melted
1 cup buttermilk
2/3 cup sugar
3/4 teaspoon baking powder
3/4 cup white cornmeal
1 cup all purpose flour
1 1/2 kosher salt
For the cultured butter:
4 1/4 cups heavy cream
2 tablespoons yogurt
Maldon salt, to taste
To prepare the grits:
Pour the extra-virgin olive oil into a pot and place over medium heat. Add the onions and sweat until fragrant, about 3 minutes. Add the grits and begin to toast slightly, about an additional 4 minutes. Add the water in small amounts, while stirring, until the grits are tender and the water has fully absorbed, about 25-30 minutes. Cool to room temperature and store in sealed containers.
To prepare the cornbread:
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Combine the grits, bacon fat, eggs and buttermilk into the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment. Mix until the grits are well incorporated into the liquid, about 4 minutes. Meanwhile, sift the sugar, baking powder, white cornmeal, all purpose flour and salt through a strainer.
Add the dry ingredients in three stages over the course of about 2 minutes, making sure not to over mix the batter as it will become tough. Pour it into a large loaf pan that has been prepared with non-stick coating. Place in the oven for 25 minutes, at which point, turn the loaf pan a half turn in the oven and bake for an additional 20 -25 minutes, or until the top and sides are golden brown. Remove from the oven and let stand for 25 minutes before slicing.
To prepare the cultured butter:
Place the cream in a saucepan and heat gently over low heat. Monitor the temperature and once it reaches 180°F hold at this temperature for an hour. Allow the temperature to cool over time and once the cream cools to 110°F, add the yogurt with a whisk, pour into a plastic container and hold in an area with an ambient temperature of at least 100°F for 12 hours. At this point, cool the cream in the refrigerator until it is completely cold, at least 3 hours. Place in a stand mixer fitted with a whip attachment and whisk on medium speed until the cream breaks and butter forms. Press the buttermilk from the butter using cheesecloth and cool in an ice bath. Whip the butter and season with Maldon salt.