My bread-making skills were a little rusty, so I approached this recipe much more methodically than I would normally. I needn’t have been nervous. It was easy as could be, and my family declared it the best bread I’d ever made. Of course, if you don’t want to make it yourself, you can easily get cornbread at a Portuguese bakery.
I couldn’t find corn flour, so I put some cornmeal in the food processor and that worked just fine. And since it’s only for the outside, cornmeal will do, too.
Cornbread (Pāo de Milho)
1¼ cups (310 mL) fine white or yellow cornmeal
3 tsp (15mL) fine salt
1¼ cups (310 mL) boiling water
2 tsp (10 mL) granulated sugar
1 cup (250 mL) lukewater water
2 packages active dry yeast (2 Tbsp/30mL)
3¼ cups (810 mL) all-purpose flour
½ cup (125 mL) white or yellow corn flour (approx.)
In a large bowl, blend the cornmeal and salt. Add the boiling water and stir until smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes until lukewarm.
Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, dissolve the sugar in lukewarm water. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand for about 10 minutes, until frothy. Stir the yeast mixture vigorously with a fork and stir into the cornmeal mixture. Gradually mix in the all-purpose mixture, until well combined. Turn out onto a well-surfaced surface and knead for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic.
Gather the dough into a ball, place in a lightly greased ball, and turn to grease all over. Cover and let rise in a draft-free place for about 1½ hours or until doubled in bulk.
Punch down the dough. Shape into a round loaf or two small ones. Roll the dough in the corn flour until well covered. Place the loaf on a well-greased baking sheet or 8-inch (20 cm) cake pan. Cover and let rise in a draft-free place for 45 minutes or until doubled in bulk. Sprinkle with additional corn flour just before baking.
Recipe excerpted from Pimentos & Piri Piri (Whitecap Books) by Carla Azevedo.