Thursday, March 20, 2014

Pao de Milho "Corn Bread"

 Adapted from Carla Azevedo and many Portuguese Moms.

This is the traditional bread of northern Portugal but it is enjoyed all over. This richly dense bread has a fantastic crusty shell. It is traditionally served with Portugal's national dish, Caldo Verde (Creamy Potato and Kale Soup), but I enjoy it on its own with butter or dipped in olive oil. Enjoy!

Note: This recipe calls for corn flour which shouldn't be confused with cornstarch. You can find corn flour in most grocery, bulk or health food stores.

Makes: 2 small loaves


1 1/4 cups fine yellow cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water, divided
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon olive oil
1/2 cup white corn flour


1. In a large bowl, combine the cornmeal and salt. Add the boiling water and stir until smooth. Let cool for 10 minutes until lukewarm.

2. Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, dissolve the sugar in a 1/2 cup lukewarm water. Sprinkle in the yeast and let stand for 10 minutes to active and get frothy. Stir the yeast vigorously with a fork and then stir it into the cornmeal mixture.

3. Gradually mix in the all-purpose flour, alternating with the remaining 1/2 cup lukewarm water until well combined.

4. Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic.

5. Gather the dough into a ball and place it in a large bowl, lightly greased with the olive oil. Turn the dough in the bowl to grease the entire surface of the dough. Cover bowl with a clean tea towel and let the dough rise in a draft free and warm place for 1 1/2 hours or until it doubles in bulk.

6. Punch the dough down. Split the dough in half and shape each piece into a round loaf. Roll each loaf in the white corn flour until well covered. Place the loaves on a parchment paper lined baking sheet that is large enough for both loaves to rise again and bake. Cover sheet with a clean tea towel and let the dough rise in a draft free and warm place for 45 minutes or until double in bulk.

7. At a half hour before baking, preheat the oven to 450F. Slash the top of each loaf to 1/4 inch deep. Bake the loaves in the middle rack for 30-40 minutes or until the loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. Cool on a wire rack and serve.


  1. How much corn meal?

  2. When I was young, rarely saw yellow corn flour or yellow corn bread. Now, even in the North it’s not easy To find white corn bread! I wonder what happened during 60 years that I was away?