Broa – Portuguese Corn Bread

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Alas, it’s been so long between posts, between life/school/family/work I don’t have as much time as I’d like to be witty. I still cook every day but I rarely get around to documenting my recipes. So for the time being you’ll have to do without banter, just ingredients + instructions. My old flatmate used to bring this dense, flavorful bread back from Portugal, and I’ve made this a few times now – if you can’t finish the whole loaf, grind it up for breadcrumbs and use it to top macaroni and cheese, you won’t be disappointed.

Ingredients:

  • 225 ml boiling water
  • 175 g corn meal
  • 1. 5 tsp (8 g) sea salt
  • 10 g brown sugar
  • 1 TB olive oil
  • 7 g instant yeast or 1/2 cake fresh yeast dissolved in 65 ml tepid water
  • 200 g white flour
  • 50 g rye flour

Instructions:

Mix cornmeal, salt, sugar and 1 TB oil in a large bowl, stir in boiling water and allow to cool to lukewarm, stirring occasionally. Dissolve the yeast in the tepid water and stir into cornmeal mix. Gradually add flours, stirring until well mixed. Form the dough into a ball, cover and let rest for 20 minutes.

Tip the dough ball out onto an oiled counter top and fold 8 times (see this video for the stretch and fold method), form back into a ball and return to the bowl. Cover and let rise for an hour. After the bulk rise, tip the dough onto an oiled counter top and stretch and fold 4 times, then shape into a boule, and leave on the counter covered with cling film or a towel. Leave it to rise while the oven heats.

Heat the oven (bottom element only) for 30 minutes to 225ºC/450ºF with a cast iron pot inside. Remove the pot’s cover, carefully place the boule inside and bake for 25 minutes with the cover on. Remove the cover, rotate the pot and bake for 20 more minutes until the bread is dark golden.

Carefully remove and let cool on a rack for at least 15 minutes before slicing and eating. Bread is easier to slice when it’s cool.

Side note: If you are new to baking I recommend http://www.thefreshloaf.com for tips and videos on how to prepare, shape and bake bread.

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