Tuesday, June 4

Broa De Milho - Portugese Corn Bread

I've just got back from a great holiday in Madeira and among other interesting foodie finds was this really simple corn bread. It looks stunning and needs little in the way of kneading and only a single prove, therefore is relatively quick to make compared to other breads. Dense and satisfying, this is one to go with hearty cured meats and rustic red wines. The crust is thick and crunchy and the crumb is soft and close textured like a standard rye.

The restaurant owner of the O'Ginjinhas Restaurant in Madeira Old Town (www.bas-fond.comwas a real foodie and introduced me to this recipe. I didn't take your name my friend, but many thanks for your hospitality and here is my humble attempt to recreate your artisan bread.

Maize flour - 500g
Rye Flour - 150g
Strong Bread Flour - 250g
Salt - 20g
Fresh yeast - 20g or 10g dried yeast
Tepid water - 700g

Dissolve the yeast in the water. Mix all the ingredients and tip onto a work surface. Knead for a few minutes to bring together into a nice smooth dough. Unlike other breads there is not a lot of gluten to develop due to the lack of wheat flour, so don't go crazy. Shape into a smooth ball, transfer to a well oiled baking sheet and generously coat the top with flour. Cover with a tea-towel and allow to prove.  When the bread has increased in size by two thirds, heat your over to 240c. The top will look all cracked and cool - this is intentional and authentic. Bake for 40 to 50 minutes until the bread sounds hollow when you tap the base.

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