How to Make Broa de Milho [Portuguese Corn and Rye Bread]

Published Categorized as Sourdough Bread Recipes

Discover the secrets to crafting the perfect broa de Milho, a traditional Portuguese cornbread. Many home bakers struggle with achieving the ideal texture and flavor, but this article will guide you through the process. Learn how to make broa de Milho with essential ingredients, techniques, and expert tips that will help you overcome common pitfalls and create an authentic, mouthwatering treat that will impress your family and friends.

How to make broa de milho

Table of Contents

What is Broa de Milho?

Broa de Milho is a type of bread that comes from Portugal and Brazil. It is different from white bread and American cornbread because it is made with cornmeal, which gives it a special texture and flavor. Cornmeal is the main ingredient in Broa de Milho. It makes the bread a little bit rough and hearty. The bread also has wheat flour and yeast, which helps it rise and gives it a nice texture.

When you mix cornmeal with regular bread ingredients, you get bread that tastes a little bit sweet and nutty. You can eat Broa de Milho by itself, with butter, or with soups and stews.

If you want to try making bread from Portugal or Brazil, Broa de Milho is a great choice. It has a special taste and texture that comes from the cornmeal, and it’s a bread that many people enjoy.

Ingredients List

  • 2 cups fine yellow cornmeal (regular cornmeal can be used, but may result in a more crumbly texture)
  • 1 cup all-purpose wheat flour (bread flour can be substituted for a higher protein content)
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast (2 teaspoons instant yeast can be used instead, no proofing required)
  • 1 1/2 cups warm water (to activate the yeast and bring the dough together)
  • 1/2 cup milk (optional, adds richness and softens the crumb)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (enhances flavor and balances sweetness)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar (feeds the yeast and aids in browning)

Equipment Needed

Before diving into the recipe, let’s make sure you have all the necessary tools to whip up a delicious batch of Broa de Milho. Don’t worry if you don’t have every single item on this list – we’ll provide some clever substitutions along the way!

Mixing Bowls and Utensils

First and foremost, you’ll need a couple of sturdy mixing bowls to combine your ingredients. A large bowl for the main dough mixture and a smaller one for proofing the yeast will do the trick. If you don’t have a second bowl, a measuring cup or even a mug can work in a pinch. You’ll also want a wooden spoon or dough whisk to bring everything together.

Baking Sheets and Parchment Paper

To bake your Broa de Milho, you’ll need a baking sheet or two. Line them with parchment paper for easy cleanup and to prevent sticking. No parchment paper? A light dusting of cornmeal or flour on the baking sheet can help.

Oven Essentials

Of course, you’ll need an oven to bake your bread to perfection. Make sure it’s in good working order and can hold a steady temperature. A pizza stone or cast iron skillet can help create a crispy crust, but they’re not essential for this recipe.

Nice-to-Have Tools

While not strictly necessary, a kitchen scale can be incredibly helpful for accurately measuring ingredients. A dough scraper is also useful for dividing the dough and keeping your work surface clean. And if you plan on making Broa de Milho regularly, consider investing in a proofing basket for that artisanal look.

Preparation Steps

Mixing the Dough

In a large mixing bowl, combine the cornmeal, flour, salt, and sugar. In a separate bowl, proof the yeast by mixing it with warm water and a pinch of sugar until it becomes foamy. Add the yeast mixture and milk (if using) to the dry ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon or dough whisk until a shaggy dough forms. Knead the dough on a lightly floured surface for about 5-10 minutes, until it becomes smooth and elastic.

Proofing the Dough

Place the kneaded dough in a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a damp towel or plastic wrap, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free spot for about 1-2 hours, or until it has doubled in size. This proofing step allows the yeast to work its magic, creating a light and airy texture in the final bread.

Shaping the Loaves

Once the dough has risen, punch it down and divide it into two equal portions. Shape each portion into a round or oval loaf, depending on your preference. Place the shaped loaves on a parchment-lined baking sheet, cover loosely with a towel, and let them rise again for about 30-45 minutes.

Baking Process

Oven Settings and Temperature

To achieve the perfect Broa de Milho, preheat your oven to 450°F (230°C). This high temperature will help create a crispy, golden-brown crust while ensuring the inside is cooked through. If you have a baking stone or cast iron skillet, place it in the oven during preheating to provide extra heat for a crispier bottom crust.

Baking Time and Technique

Once your oven is preheated and your loaves are ready, it’s time to bake! Carefully transfer the risen loaves to the hot oven, either directly onto the baking stone or skillet, or keep them on the parchment-lined baking sheet. Bake the Broa de Milho for about 35-45 minutes, depending on the size of your loaves. To check for doneness, tap the bottom of the bread – it should sound hollow when fully baked.

For an extra crispy crust, try creating steam in your oven by placing a metal tray on the bottom rack during preheating. When you put the bread in the oven, pour a cup of hot water into the tray, quickly closing the oven door to trap the steam inside. This steam will help create a thin, crispy crust that crackles as the bread cools.

Cooling and Serving

Once your Broa de Milho is baked to perfection, remove it from the oven and let it cool on a wire rack for at least 30 minutes before slicing. This cooling time allows the bread’s structure to set, making it easier to slice without crumbling. Serve your homemade Broa de Milho warm with butter, as a side to your favorite soups and stews, or enjoy it on its own as a tasty snack. Leftover bread can be stored in an airtight container at room temperature for up to 3 days, or frozen for longer storage.

Variations of Broa de Milho

Broa de Milho, the traditional Portuguese cornbread, comes in many delightful variations. Across Portugal, bakers use different types of cornmeal, like yellow or white, to create unique flavors and colors. Some modern recipes add a touch of sweetness with honey or sugar, while others play with herbs and spices for new taste combinations.

You can easily customize Broa de Milho to your liking or dietary needs. Swap wheat flour with gluten-free alternatives, try different cornmeal ratios, or experiment with other flours like rye or spelt.

Traditionally baked in wood-fired ovens for a smoky flavor and crisp crust, Broa de Milho can also be made in a regular oven at home. Some recipes even suggest steaming or frying the dough for a softer texture.

Storage Tips

Keeping Your Broa de Milho Tasty

If you want your homemade Broa de Milho to stay yummy for a couple of days, just put it in a sealed container or plastic bag and keep it on your kitchen counter. This way, it won’t get too hard or dry out too fast.

Putting It in the Fridge to Last Longer

Want your Broa de Milho to stick around a bit more? No problem! You can keep it in the fridge for up to a week. Just wrap it up nicely and snug in some plastic wrap or aluminum foil before you put it in there. This will make sure it doesn’t pick up any weird smells or flavors from your fridge. When you’re ready to chow down, let it sit out for a bit to warm up or toss it in the oven for a couple of minutes to make it taste like it’s fresh out of the oven.

Freezing Your Bread for Later

Made a bunch of Broa de Milho that you can’t eat right away? No sweat! This bread freezes like a champ. Cut it up into slices, wrap each piece in plastic wrap, and toss them in a freezer bag or container. Don’t forget to write the date on the bag, so you remember how long it’s been in there. You can keep your frozen Broa de Milho for up to 3 months. When you’re ready to dig in, just let it thaw on the counter or in the fridge overnight. Then, heat it up in the oven for a few minutes, and it’ll taste like you just baked it!

Common Mistakes

Broa de Milho is a simple bread, but even the most experienced bakers can run into trouble from time to time. Here are a few common mistakes to avoid when making this tasty cornbread:

Overmixing the Dough

One of the most frequent baking errors when making Broa de Milho is overmixing the dough. While it’s important to ensure all the ingredients are well combined, too much mixing can lead to a tough, dense bread. Mix just until the dough comes together and no dry flour remains.

Inaccurate Measurements

As with any baking recipe, accurate measurements are key to success. Too much flour can result in a dry, crumbly bread, while too much liquid can make the dough overly sticky and difficult to work with. Use measuring cups and spoons to ensure precision, or better yet, invest in a kitchen scale for the most accurate results.

Skipping the Proofing Steps

It may be tempting to rush the proofing process, but allowing the dough adequate time to rise is crucial for achieving the perfect texture. Skipping or shortening the proofing steps can lead to a flat, dense loaf lacking that delightful airy crumb we all crave.

How to Make Broa de Milho – Wrap Up

Broa de Milho is a delightful Portuguese and Brazilian cornbread that combines the unique taste and texture of cornmeal with traditional bread ingredients. This article provides a detailed recipe, helpful tips, and storage advice to guide you through making your own Broa de Milho at home.

Whether you’re a fan of Portuguese and Brazilian cuisine or looking to expand your bread-making skills, Broa de Milho is a must-try recipe that won’t disappoint.

By Natasha Krajnc

Hi! My name is Natasha and I'm specialized in home sourdough bread baking and currently based in Slovakia - a very small country in Central Europe. My bread baking story began in 2011 when I decided to give up commercial yeast. I felt tired all the time (especially after eating bread and other foods made with yeast), I wasn’t motivated to do anything, had trouble concentrating throughout the day, my abdomen was bloated and I was like a trumpet on steroids – basically, I was quite a wreck. I was a big bread lover (and still am) and having to stop eating bread was quite hard at that time but I felt I was on a right way to give my body a chance to heal itself.

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