There is something very primal about bread. Something, I think, which transports us to the core of our existence by kneading a dough, seeing it rising into a loaf, firstly with yeast and then with the heat of an oven. I find breaking, sharing and eating it completes one of the most relaxing cooking experiences. This week I had the pleasure of “tweeting” with the bread extraordinaire Dan Lepard. I love his books which present us with gorgeous recipes of this staple. I wanted to retribute the knowledge by sharing with him and all my readers a traditional bread from Portugal which is called “broa de milho” – Corn bread. This type of bread is eaten mostly during festivities, dunked in traditional kale soup or cut into slices to hold juicy slices of chouriço. Traditionally it is baked in a wood oven and the dough placed on top of a cabbage leaf. I remember as a child seeing it being sliced, warm and super crusty from the oven in so many bakeries and delicatessens. There is something almost volcanic looking about “broa de milho”, as if a big rock or meteor had landed on the counter. This bread is also quite versatile, when dry it is delicious crumbled and as a crust on top of roasted bream or octopus…oh the joys! Enjoy this easier version of a delicious Portuguese staple.
Broa de Milho/Traditional Portuguese corn bread
500gr of organic white bread flour
250 gr of polenta
400 ml of boiling water
1 good pinch of salt
1 tsp of organic yeast granules
Pre-heat the oven at 200 ºC.
In a bowl, mix in the flour with the polenta. Make a well in the middle and slowly add the water, pulling the flour/polenta from the sides into the middle. add in the yeast. Mix well. You should end up with a smooth yet sticky dough. Transfer to a flat floured surface and knead for 5-10 minutes. Leave to rest for 2-3 hours in the mixing bowl. Cracks will appear in the dow which is totally normal
Place the dough on top of a flat baking tray, dusted with flour and bake in the oven for 30-40 minutes till its golden and crusty looking. emove from the oven and let it cool before serving into slices.