Traditional American cornbread is a butter or lard-enriched quick bread, leavened with baking powder and baking soda. It is usually pretty sweet. I make mine with yeasted Broa dough and bake it in a cast-iron pot. Broa is a very rustic cornbread from the Portuguese countryside. It is usually served with soups and spicy meat stews but it tastes delicious with jams and other sweet spreads as well.
Broa (Portuguese Cornbread)
- 250g of yellow cornmeal
- 250g of plain wheat flour
- 40g of fresh yeast
- a pinch of sugar
- 200ml of lukewarm water
- 1 tsp of salt
- 200ml of boiling water
- 1 tbsp of olive oil
- Crumble the yeast and dissolve it with the sugar in lukewarm water. Cover with a clean cloth and set aside until the yeast forms bubbles.
Pour boiling water over 200g of cornmeal mixed with salt. Stir, until you have a very crumbly mixture and allow it to cool for about 10 minutes.
Add the remaining cornmeal, wheat flour, olive oil and the activated yeast mixture. Work the dough until it’s smooth and elastic. Cover with a clean cloth and let it rest for 30 minutes.
Transfer the dough onto a flour-dusted workspace and knead it thoroughly again. If the dough is too sticky sprinkle it with wheat flour and work it into the dough until the consistency is right. Form a loaf and place it on baking parchment. Cover it with a clean cloth and let it rest for another 30 minutes.
- Preheat the oven, with the cast-iron pot in it, to 250°C / 485°F. Take the pot out of the oven and place the loaf with the baking parchment in the pot. Put the lid back on and place the pot in the oven. Reduce the heat to 230°C / 445°F and bake the bread for 45 minutes.
While doing research for this post I found this very interesting story about why the Portuguese cuisine might be the most influential cuisine in the world. Check it out!