Portuguese Corn Bread (Broa)

A crackled top with a soft yet dense centre, Portuguese corn bread (Broa) is perfect served with salted butter. These thin slices are made for dipping into soups or a soft-boiled ‘dippy’ egg.

Timings

Prep Time

1 hr 30 mins

Cook time

35 mins

Total time

2 hrs 5 mins

Servings

2 loaves

Why should I make this corn bread?

  • Seriously easy to make!
  • Perfect for dipping into soups or a soft-boiled egg at breakfast!
  • Try out food from a different culture.
  • A thanksgiving corn bread alternative!

When soup season hits, all you want is bread that does fall apart into pieces as soon as you dip. Enter – broa de milho, a traditional ‘daily bread’ popular in Portugal and Brazil. It’s dense and soft all at the same time. A similar texture to sourdough. The best for dipping!

My broa recipe is the simplest corn bread recipe, using 6 ingredients. I used cornmeal mixed with strong white flour to give a bit more rise but to still keep the dense texture.

Broa de milho can be made a variety of other ways. Some use all-purpose flour, some use wholemeal and some even use rye flour and add milk too!

This Portuguese bread is traditionally cooked in a wood oven but of course you can use a conventional oven with this recipe. I reckon a pizza oven would be a good alternative though!

For recipes just waiting to be dipped, search through my Soups, Stews and Chilli recipes.

How to make Portuguese Corn Bread

Step 1Making the dough: In a medium bowl, mix together the strong white flour with the corn meal flour. Stir in the yeast and salt.

Step 2The rise: Immediately pour in the warm water (before it goes cold!) Combine with a wooden spoon until you get a sticky dough. Dip your hands in the leftover flour and shape into a rough ball with your hands. Place in a clean bowl, sprinkle with a tiny bit of flour and leave to rise in a warm place, until double in size. About an hour but keep checking.

Step 3Shaping: Flour your surfaces by sprinkling some flour all over where you’ll be kneading. Knock back your dough by punching it with your hands until it deflates. Tip it out onto the surface and create a rough ball shape again. Cut the dough in half with a d-scraper or knife. Shape into two smaller dough balls, about 15-20cm wide.

Step 4 Second Prove and Baking: Place the two dough balls onto an oiled tray and sprinkle with more flour. This will give the crackled effect. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove again in a warm place. About 30 minutes. Once doubled in size, bake in an oven at 200°c for 35 minutes or until hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Equipment Needed

2 x medium bowls
1 x jug
1 x wooden spoon
1 x d-scraper
1 x large baking tray
A tea towel

Frequently Asked Questions

What does broa mean?

The word ‘broa’ in Brazil translates as ‘the corn bread’. It was traditionally eaten by the poor as corn was A LOT cheaper than wheat flour. Of course now it’s eaten and enjoyed by everyone all over Brazil as well as Portugal.

Can I freeze corn bread?

Yes you can freeze corn bread (or any bread really!) Wrap in foil or place in a freezer bag and it’ll keep for 2-3 months. You could always pre-slice and open freeze on a tray and then tip the slices into a freezer bag. That way you can take out one or two slices at a time without defrosting the whole loaf. 

Portuguese Corn Bread (Broa)

A crackled top with a soft yet dense centre, Portuguese corn bread (Broa) is perfect served with salted butter. These thin slices are made for dipping into soups or a soft-boiled 'dippy' egg.
5 from 1 vote
Prep Time 1 hr 30 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Total Time 2 hrs 5 mins
Course Bread
Cuisine Brazilian, Portuguese
Servings 2 loaves
Calories 1135 kcal

Equipment

  • 2 x Medium Bowls
  • 1 x jug
  • 1 x wooden spoon
  • 1 x D-Scraper
  • 1 x large baking tray
  • A Tea Towel

Ingredients
  

  • 400 g strong white flour plus extra for dusting
  • 200 g cornmeal flour
  • 7 g dried yeast
  • 1 tsp fine salt
  • 350 ml warm water
  • 1 tsp olive oil

Instructions
 

  • In a medium bowl, mix together the strong white flour with the corn meal flour. Stir in the yeast and salt. 
  • Immediately pour in the warm water and combine with a wooden spoon until you get a sticky dough.
  • Dip your hands in the leftover flour and shape into a rough ball with your hands. Place in a clean bowl, sprinkle with a tiny bit of flour and leave to rise in a warm place, until double in size. About an hour but keep checking.
  • Flour your surfaces by sprinkling some where you'll be kneading. Knock back your dough by punching it with your hands until it deflates. Tip it out onto the surface and create a rough ball shape again. Cut the dough in half with a d-scraper or knife. Shape into two smaller dough balls, about 15-20cm wide.
  • Place the two dough balls onto an oiled tray and sprinkle with more flour. This will give the crackled effect. Cover with a tea towel and leave to prove again in a warm place. About 30 minutes.
  • Once doubled in size, bake in an oven at 200°c for 35 minutes or until hollow when tapped on the bottom. Leave to cool or serve warm.

Notes

Storage – Any leftover bread will keep for another day or two. Store in a cool, dry place and wrap in a tea towel or paper bag. You may want to refresh it the next day by warming it for a few minutes in an oven or toasting. 
Re-heating – As said above, this bread is great for toasting. You can also refresh in a warm oven for a few minutes, if a bit stale.
Freezing – Yes you can freeze this broa bread. Wrap in foil or place in a freezer bag and it’ll keep for 2-3 months.
You could always pre-slice and open freeze on a tray and then tip the slices into a freezer bag. That way you can take out one or two slices at a time without defrosting the whole loaf. 

Nutrition

Calories: 1135kcalCarbohydrates: 219gProtein: 35gFat: 11gSaturated Fat: 2gPolyunsaturated Fat: 4gMonounsaturated Fat: 4gSodium: 1181mgPotassium: 556mgFiber: 15gSugar: 2gVitamin A: 4IUVitamin C: 1mgCalcium: 43mgIron: 5mg
Keyword Corn Flour, Fall, Soups
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

More Bread Recipes –

Easy Caribbean Johnny Cakes

Antiguan Butter Bread Loaf

Lepinja Flatbread Rolls from the Balkans

Australian Soda Bread (Damper Bread)

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