Portuguese CornBread Recipe
Learn to make Portuguese Cornbread
To know a country and the people, you have to know its food. Our food tour takes you the way beyond the usual tourist experience to get to know the real Portugal – tasting, smelling, going to the oldest shops with all Portugal’s local products. And finally, you will learn to cook the best Portuguese food.
Portugal may be one of the smaller western European countries, but its offerings are immense. Travel along with Western Portugal and up the coast through big cities like Lisbon, Porto, and Braga and up into the historical village Obidos and Arcos de Valdevez. You’ll get to know the cuisine through a pastry tasting, a cooking workshop followed by a picnic, and a cornbread cooking class (bread made in a traditional wood oven).
Join us for an unforgettable culinary journey! You will learn to cook with us!
How To Make Portuguese Cornbread
A few months ago, CNN posted an article about 50 of the world’s best bread. One bread is Portuguese!
Nowadays, some people avoid bread because of gluten or calories. However, that isn’t easy to think about Portuguese Cuisine without bread or wine. That is mentioned in one famous song. “Uma Casa Portuguesa” (A Portuguese House) is the song that describes the simplicity, humility, and love felt within a Portuguese home.
Uma Casa Portuguesa
Numa casa portuguesa fica bem
Pão e vinho sobre a mesa
E se à porta humildemente bate alguém
Senta-se à mesa com a gente
A Portuguese Home
In a Portuguese home, it is so good.
To have bread and wine on the table.
And if someone humbly knocks at the door,
we invite them to sit at the table with us.
This typical Portuguese bread was only introduced in our diet after the Discoveries. The first ears of corn arrived in Europe with Christopher Columbus in 1493. But they were presented in Portugal only around 1515, thanks to Diego Columbus, son of Christopher Columbus and Filipa Moniz.
Contrary to the Spanish, the Portuguese used maize in their food. Contrary to the Spanish, the Portuguese used maize in their food. The Portuguese disseminated this habit over all the lands of the Pacific, India, and Portuguese America.
The corn was adopted in northern Portuguese regions. From May to September, you can see the plant on the land.
In September, we have the husking of the maize (desfolhada). In Portugal, the husking of the maize is a party!
Corn represented a valid alternative to buckwheat. The corn is still used – as it once was – to make broa de milho, a traditional cornbread.
Making Portuguese Cornbread The Traditional Way
To prepare the broa de milho, four parts of corn and one of wheat must be stone milled, sifted, and heaped into the wooden masseira (kneading trough). Water and salt are added and slowly, and the cornflour is kneaded with the hands.
When the dough has a solid structure, it is marked with your finger the cross’s sign and wait to rise for a couple of hours (see the photo). The masseria is closed or covered with the dough with a cloth. The dough is left for 30 minutes to rest.
To bake the bread, a stone oven is fired up with broom wood and pine. When it reaches the right temperature, the loaves are turned onto the oven floor and baked (see the photo). The oven iron door is closed with two long strands of bread dough, and when they turn brown, the loaves are done. In the old days, ox excrements were used to seal the door!
The crust is brown and open. The bread smells of toasted corn.
The dough is easy to work with and does not require any of the specialized techniques that you need to make sourdough bread. The crust is crispy, and the yellow crumb is very tight with tiny air bubbles.
The cornbread is made in a region-specific and a recipe worth preservation. Our travelers cook with us. So you can be part of preserving this fantastic bread and bake it in Portugal!
Not everyone has the chance to own a wood oven at home! Read our tips for homemade cornbread.
Portuguese Cornbread Recipe
11g of yeast
One tablespoon sugar
One teaspoon salt
50ml of warm water
100g Wheat flour
1 liter of boiled water
Add the yeast, sugar, a tablespoon of wheat flour, and 50ml of warm water. Mix slightly and let stand for 15 minutes to activate the yeast.
Bring 1 liter of water on the stove to boil.
Place 500g of fine cornflour in a container. Add a teaspoon of salt.
Then, add the boiling water gradually to scald the cornflour.
Stir with a spoon because it is hot. When you reach this consistency, don’t add more hot water.
Then, add 250g of fine wheat flour. Knead well (use your hands). Take your activated yeast (it is making air bubbles).
Add more than 250g of fine wheat flour. Now the mixture should only be warm (you won’t kill the yeast). Add the yeast.
Knead for 10 to 15 minutes.
You can add a little more wheat flour if the dough is too soft.
Form a ball and let it rise in a warm environment. When doubled in size, remove the air inside with your fingertips from a large ball or two smaller ones. Then place on a tray with parchment paper.
If you want to decorate, you can, for example, make strokes with a sharp knife.
Let rise another 10 minutes in the pan. Heat the oven to 260 ° C / 500 ° F, bake the first 20. Next, turn it down to 230 ° C / 445 ° F. Keep baking until the crust is opening.
Then, turn it down to 99 ° C / 210 ° F inside. It took about 25 minutes. Take the bread out of the oven, and wait for cools entirely on a wire rack.
It tastes like absolute perfection with good butter, olives, cheeses, or ham. The sweetness from the corn also makes it a perfect pairing with a fabulous sausage or chili. It’s also great with an excellent Portuguese soup like a green broth.
The green broth is the most traditional Portuguese soups as simple as it gets: onions, potatoes, and kale (collard greens), cooked with garlic and olive oil. Known in English as Kale Soup (in Portuguese Caldo Verde), kale is the main ingredient. This soup would usually be served with a slice of chorizo and cornbread.
Bom apetite 😉
What are the health benefits of corn?
The corn grain is an exceptional natural supplement: it contains vitamins (especially Vitamins B) and has a high mineral content such as magnesium, iron, potassium, and phosphorus. It also contains selenium, calcium, copper, and zinc. Thanks to the potassium salts, corn is also an excellent diuretic and contributes to eliminating uric acid and phosphates.
And, very importantly, corn is entirely gluten-free! However, this recipe has cornflour plus another flour. That is NOT 100% corn!
Small-Group Tours in Portugal
Intense 8-day of Food Tours in Portugal for the epicure, including hotels, transportation, Port wine tasting, cooking classes, guide, and more!
You will visit pastries, farms, and local food stores to teach you how to taste and enjoy real Portuguese Slow Food!
We will cook this special bread! But in a traditional kitchen.
Are you curious? Read More Here.