b Broa – Pão de Milho – Portuguese Corn Bread

The dog wags his tail, not for you, but for your bread.

Portuguese Proverb
Pão de Milho, is my favorite of all the classic Portuguese breads. This artisan style bread is usually made with both Corn and Wheat flour and originated in the Northern region of Tras os Montes, Portugal.
What is unusual about this baking process it that you initially use scalding hot water to pre-cook the corn flour before you add in the regular flour. This is called pre-gelatinization of the corn meal, kind of like cooking polenta.
This process speeds up the cooking and leaves a less sticky dough. Once the corn flour and water mixture cools down you add the flour and finally the yeast.

The dough is placed in round shaped pans to form the bread. There is no need to let the dough rise for hours like most bread doughs.

Serve with the classic  Caldo Verde soup or with a Portuguese Antipasti Platter which includes presunto, and various cheeses for a truly authentic presentation.

Watch the videos at the end of this post to see the old world traditions of making this bread.

Makes 1 corn bread

Ingredients:

3 and 3/4 cups of white corn flour (you may also use fine yellow corn flour)

3 cups of flour

3 cups boiling water

1 tablespoon melted butter

2 teaspoons sugar

2 teaspoons salt


Yeast Starter:

1/4 cup warm water

1/2 teaspoon of sugar

2 teaspoons powdered yeast

1 tablespoon of flour

Instructions:

Make the yeast starter and set aside.

Place the corn flour in a mixing bowl and add the boiling water butter, sugar and salt. This will start the cooking process of the corn flour.

Mix well with a dough hook or with your hands if the dough is cool enough to handle. Let the dough rest for about 5 minutes and add the flour a little at a time.

Add the yeast mix and knead until the dough is smooth and can be shaped into a ball.

Place dough on a floured surface and shape into a ball. Coat the top of the dough with corn flour.

Form the dough into a flat round shape and place in a greased cake pan or pie plate.

Meanwhile preheat oven to 450 degrees. Let the dough double in size for about 30 minutes or longer.

You’ll  notice the cracks forming on the dough but that is what gives the dough an artisan appearance.

Cook for about 45 minutes until the crust is dark. Hit the bread with your knuckles and listen for a hallow sound. You may need to cook the bread longer depending on your oven since temperatures vary.

Let cool before slicing. The bread will be very crusty. If you want a softer crust, place the cooled bread in a food safe plastic bag for a few hours.

I wish you could taste it with that melted butter!

Watch this video to see the old process of making Pao Milho and cooking it in a wood fired oven.

Making Pao de Milho old tradition Part I

Part II

Part III

Part IV

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