Pão de Milho, (Broa de Milho) began as an essential bread in the poorer areas of Portugal. Corn was brought to Portugal and Spain by fisherman and whalers while sailing the New England coastline. The corn was ground and mixed with wheat or rye flour to make a lovely crusty bread to serve with the traditional Caldo de Verde, a potato and kale soup.
Portuguese cornbread is a slightly dense bread with a fine texture made by first cooking the cornmeal in boiling water, then letting it cool before adding the remaining ingredients. I found it an easy bread to make and will definitely make it again. Aparna chose the Broa for We Knead to Bake #36.
Below are some images of a bakery I visited while in Portugal this past November while on a Viking Cruise on the Douro River. This from Favaios, Portugal where Muscatel wine was invented and where a famous bread is baked.
Broa de Milho
King Arthur Flour
1 cup fine yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup very hot water
1/2 to 3/4 cup warm milk
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 -1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
Extra flour for dusting
Place the cornmeal in a bowl, add the hot water and mix together well with a fork. Add 1/2 cup of the warm milk. Mix all together until you have a paste. Let cool to lukewarm. Add remaining ingredients and knead with by hand or mixer. I used my bread machine on the dough cycle. When cycle has finished, remove to a lightly floured surface. Knead a few times and let rest, covered for 5-10 minutes. Preheat oven to 450°F.
Shape into a ball and place on a parchment lined baking sheet. Dust with flour, cover loosely and let rise for about an hour until puffy. Just before baking, if desired, make 3 or 4 slashes 1/4-inch deep on the crust. Spritz the top lightly with water and bake at 450°F for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 400°F and bake for an additional 15-20 minutes until golden brown. Let cool on wire rack. Slice and serve. Makes 1 round loaf-about 12 slices.
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