Regarded as the national bread of Portugal, broa is unlike American corn bread in that it uses yeast as the raising agent and is very rustic and dense. It's traditionally used to mop up soups and stews, then made into breadcrumbs when stale.
- 1 kg maize polenta
- 1 kg coarse semolina
- 50 g salt
- 1¾ litres warm water
- 75 g fresh yeast
- 1 kg rye flour
Oven temperatures are for conventional; if using fan-forced (convection), reduce the temperature by 20˚C. | We use Australian tablespoons and cups: 1 teaspoon equals 5 ml; 1 tablespoon equals 20 ml; 1 cup equals 250 ml. | All herbs are fresh (unless specified) and cups are lightly packed. | All vegetables are medium size and peeled, unless specified. | All eggs are 55-60 g, unless specified.
Makes 3-4 loaves
Combine the polenta, semolina and salt in a large bowl. Gradually add enough water, mixing continually for a good ten minutes until it resembles scrambled eggs. Leave for 10 minutes.
In separate mixing bowl, using your hands, mix the yeast and 250 ml (1 cup) warm water until well combined.
Mix the rye flour and yeast mixture into the first mixture and gradually add the rest of the water. Mix it through for 10 minutes.
Divide into 3–4 loaves approximately 1 kg each. Toss in a floured bowl to achieve a round shape, place on baking paper on a tray and into preheated 150°C oven for 20–25 minutes or until the base sounds hollow when tapped.