Broa (Portuguese Yeast-Raised Cornbread)

Dense and chewy interior with a thick, crusty exterior… This bread is nearly a meal in itself.

  • 2 packages active dry yeast (If you’re using old-school yeast, you’ll need to make a sponge, if using the packets, you do not and ignore this)
  • 2 cups stoneground cornmeal
  • 1 1/2 cups water
  • 1 cups milk (or use all water)
  • 2 Tbsp Olive Oil
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups bread flour

Scald the milk and water by heating on the stove until small bubbles appear. Pour over the cornmeal and mix. Lumpy is ok. Allow it to cool until lukewarm so you don’t kill the yeast. Add the remaining ingredients and knead, knead, knead. Or if you have a Kitchen-Aid, get your dough hook out and let it knead, knead, knead for you. You’ll probably want to work in two batches if you’re going with the latter method so as not to burn out your motor. Use the “spa” method to create a faux brick-and-steam oven. Bake at 500F for a total of about 35-45 minutes, remembering to sprinkle water on the bricks for steam every 10 minutes or so (or you can go for a drier interior and bake 15 minutes at 500F, reduce to 400 and 30 minutes more). But I say go for that moist interior because bread will naturally dry out by the second day anyway.

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