Broa de milho (Cornbread)

The "broa de milho" is a traditional Portuguese bread made with corn flour. It has a flattened round shape, a hard crust and a dense inside texture. It can last a really long time; because of this particular feature, "broa" is known as the "poor people bread". It goes very well with soups ("caldo verde") and stews. It is also great when served with butter or olive oil. 
We offer you a simplified recipe. The traditional "broa" is a naturally leavened bread baked in wood-fired ovens. The word "broa" is also used to indicate cakes and pastries made with corn flour.

Ingredients

  • • 250 g fine precooked corn flour
  • • 250 g all purpose flour
  • • 1 teaspoon salt
  • • 50 g fresh yeast
  • • 100 ml boiling water
  • • 100 - 150 ml warm water, approximately

Preparation method

1. Sift the precooked corn flour in a large bowl, add salt and boiling water. Mix with a wooden spoon, let it warm and knead with your hands. 
2. Dissolve fresh yeast in a little warm water. 
3. Add (to the corn flour mixture) the fresh yeast dissolved and the sifted all purpose flour. Slowly add the warm water. Knead the dough until it doesn't stick to your hands. It's a firm dough. 
4. Let the dough rise in warm place for about 1 hour, until doubled in size. 
5. Shape the leavened dough into a ball and sprinkle with a little more all purpose flour. Place it on a baking tray lined with parchment paper. Let it rise in warm place for about 1 ½ hour. Since the dough is heavy, the "broas" will turn out a little flat and also will appear small cracks on top of them.  
6. Bake in a preheated oven at 200°C for about 25 minutes, until golden brown. 

Variation: replace half of the all purpose flour with rye flour.
Posted on: 06 February 2013
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