Thursday, February 7, 2008

Portuguese Cornbread

Here is Ripley helping me to make Portuguese Cornbread. I'm quite happy with how this came out. Also as you can see, I made my weekly whole wheat bread. I'm learning more and more. The Portuguese Cornbread recipe I got online a few years ago on a site dedicated to old family recipes. I searched after my inlaws brought a loaf over that they'd purchased from a Portuguese market. Portuguese Cornbread is made with white cornmeal, white bread flour and rolled in white cornflour, and yeast. (White cornmeal / flour is readily available and very affordable in the international foods section -- particularly if you live in an area heavily settled by the Portuguese. But, it is possible to find it in the baking section too.) It's lighter and has a finer crumb than a traditional yellow cornbread, but you can tell that they are related when you taste it. Next time I think I'll start the oven out a little warmer and cook it for a few more minutes to get a browner crust. But, all and all, I think this loaf came out nicely. Here is the recipe for those of you who want to try it out.
1 1/4 C fine white cornmeal
2 t salt
1 1/4 C boiling water
1 t sugar
1/2 C lukewarm water (for yeast)
1 T yeast
3 C white flour
1/2 C lukewarm water
1/2 C white cornflour
  • Pour boiling water over white cornmeal and salt in medium-large bowl. Mix until smooth. Set aside to cool for 10 minutes.
  • Disolve sugar in 1/2 C lukewarm water and stir in yeast. Let sit 10 minutes until foamy.
  • Rapidly wisk yeast mixture with fork, then stir into the cornmeal mixture.
  • Add 3 C flour and 1/2 C luke warm water slowly and alternately until combined.
  • Knead 10 minutes on lightly floured surface.
  • Gather into a ball and let rise in a lightly oiled bowl for 90 minutes.
  • Gently punch down (one of the new things I've learned is that I was punching down to violently ... punching down is hardly supposed to be a punch. More like a gentle caress.)
  • Make a round loaf, ROLL in your 1/2 C of white cornflour, and put into greased pie plate.
  • Rise 45 minutes or until doubled.
  • Sprinkle with more of the white cornflour just before baking.
  • Bake at 450 degrees for 30-40 minutes. (I'm going to try starting oven at 475, lower once you put the bread in the oven, then cook for 40 minutes. Last time I cooked it for 35.)
  • Transfer to wire rack to cool. Don't cut until cooled. Cooling is part of the bread baking process.

Let me know if you try it and how it comes out! Yumola! Enjoy!

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