A quick trip to the hills happened last week. Hills become heaven during monsoons. Springs spouting forth and becoming gurgling streams and murmuring brooks dot the beautiful landscape. We saw a small shop selling local produce. I could not resist buying coarse cornmeal crushed in a watermill. Water mills were so common some years ago. Now it is a rarity to spot one. Water mills still exist in the interior and remote villages. On our way, we were amused by the kids bathing their buffaloes in a large water body fed by a spring.
Having bought fresh corn meal, I baked Broa – The Portuguese bread
Broa is regarded as the National Bread of Portugal. Broa is unlike American corn bread in that it uses yeast as the raising agent. Broa is made from a mixture of corn meal and wheat or rye flour. The word Broa comes from the Gothic word “brauth” that means bread. The bread has a hard chewy crust and dense soft crumb. Broa is traditionally had with Caldo Verdo (potato, kale and sausage soup)
We had it with sweet corn mixed vegetable soup.
Broa – The Portuguese Bread
Adapted from kingarthurflour.com
1 cup yellow cornmeal
2 ½ cups all-purpose flour
½ cup warm milk
¾ cup hot water
2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 ½ teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
Take corn meal in a bowl. Add hot water and milk. Stir. Cover and let the mixture cool to lukewarm.
Whisk together all-purpose flour and salt. Add olive oil.
Add to the lukewarm cornmeal mixture. Add honey and knead for 6 to 8 minutes to get a smooth and sticky dough. Transfer to an oiled bowl and turn it over so that the dough is coated with oil. Cover and leave to rise for 1 ½ hours or until double in size.
Turn the dough out onto the floured counter and knead it lightly. From a ball of the dough and place it onto a greased baking tray sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover with a kitchen towel and leave it to rise for 45 minutes or until very puffy.
Preheat oven to 232 degrees C. Spritz the loaf with water and make four slashes about ¼ inches deep on top. Slide the baking tray inside the oven and bake for 10 minutes.
Lower the temperature to 204 degrees C and bake for another 15 minutes or till the top turns golden brown. Remove from the oven. Remover from the tray after 5 minutes and cool in the rack.
Slice when cold or next day.
Submitted for Yeastspotting