Saturday, October 16, 2010

Babes Broa for Bread Baking Day 2010

Soft and Savory Broa

The October bread for the Bread Baking Babes is a yeasted corn bread. Kitchen of the Month Blogging from OUR Kitchen hostess Elizabeth piqued my interest by describing the Portuguese Broa that she remembered having when she first moved to her new neighborhood years ago. In hopes of making it as authentic I tried to hunt down white corn flour and meal. Unfortunately all I could find was yellow corn flour and we had some polenta style corn meal in the pantry, so I went with that.

Right from the start it seemed like I was baking a different bread than Elizabeth had, not even including the white vs yellow corn component. Polenta is usually cooked in three times the water as the volume of the corn meal. The recipe called for equal amounts so I ended up using my hands to combine the cooled polenta with the whole wheat and yellow corn flours, plus the amount of white flour we were to start with. When I started mixing that with the ½ cup of water that I’d used to reactivate the dry yeast it was clear that this was a very stiff, not slack, dough…the exact opposite of what Elizabeth had described.

What to do? Well I decided to go for broke and added and additional ½ cup of water, kneading everything together on the board using my hands and the bench scraper. I was having so much fun that I neglected to find out when to add the salt, so I ended up with no slat in the dough so I glazed the finished loaf and sprinkled it with sea salt so that there was some salt on the bread if not in it. I followed along with the recipe until the part where you allow it to rise for 1 – 4 hours. By then (I started the bread after work) I was ready to go to bed. The dough, plate on top, was retarded in the fridge overnight.

After that, except for the egg glaze and sea salt, I followed the recipe and ended up with a moist loaf with a nice salty, crunchy crust, and plenty of corn flavor. The crumb included some texture from the polenta and it was fairly loose without any major air holes, and the loaf was a bit on the flat side but we liked that. Sweetie and Straightshooter really seemed to enjoy it and half the loaf was gone pretty quickly even though we had sliced it thinly. I served it with chili and a salad when it was barely warm. The next day thin slices went into the toaster and came out even crunchier and more delicious, if that is possible.

Thank you Elizabeth, for choosing a bread I might never have tried to make. Very glad that this was our Babes October challenge! Now, about World Bread Day...see below.

If you would like to be a Buddy, bake this flavorful moist bread and post about it by October 29th and let Elizabeth know so that she can send you her badge. Head on around to the other Babes’ sites and you will probably see this bread as it is supposed to be made, not my poor attempt. The links are on the sidebar toward the top.

Last, but not least, next month we will be asking for suggestions for the third Anniversary celebration bread. Somehow between Thanksgiving, Harvest, Christmas and New Years the Babes will figure out the bread for February and we are counting on our friends and Buddies and lurkers to challenge us with great bread ideas. Check back around the middle of November for specifics on how to get those ideas to the Babes. I know, dear reader, that you will surprise and delight us!

This bread goes over to Susan at Wild Yeast for the weekly Yeastspotting event, plus it is my bread for World Bread Day…which, by happy coincidence, is TODAY!..., hosted by Zorra at 1x umruhrem bitte. Last year there was a great deal of participation in World Bread Day so it is likely that this year it will be even more popular as people around the globe reconnect with the older rhythms and rituals that connect us, like baking bread, that are now being recognized as an essential part of our humanity. HAPPY BREAD BAKING DAY!
Head over HERE for Yeastspotting and HERE for World Bread Day and HERE for the Broa recipe.


  1. How amazing that the water amount was so different. It doesn't seem to be right that it was simply from using yellow corn meal rather than white!

    But I'm glad that the final bread was edible. Good idea to serve it with chilli!

    I've made yellow cornmeal bread too. If there is any of your bread left over, it works really well cubed and put into turkey stuffing.

    (There aren't significant holes in the Brazil Bakery bread. The crumb is quite uniform.)

  2. I already thought it was very intriguing with all the different corn flours but now even more so. It looks great! (Haven't posted mine because I was lazy in France but will get to that soonest)

  3. Seems like the perfect bread to serve with chili.

  4. Looks great! I love the salted top. I agree, mine was best toasted too, brought out the corniness.

  5. Forgetting the salt...sounds so familiar hehehe. Great job adding it on top with style like you did. And kudos for fixing the yellow cornmeal problems. Your bread looks great!!

  6. Normally you should bake a bread exlusive for World Bread Day. But your loaf looks so gorgeous I make an exception. ;-)

    Thank you for joining World Bread Day.

  7. Great save with the salt. Chili and corn bread is right at the top of my list of favorite cool-weather meals, and this seems the perfect type of corn bread that can really stand up to chili. Lovely color on your bread!