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Perhaps Portugal's most famous bread is the ubiquitous Portuguese sweet bread, massa sovada, a loaf rich with eggs, milk and butter, and sweet enough to eat as dessert. But clearly, sweet bread isn't an everyday, every-meal bread; the more homely broa is the better choice to serve with meat, cheese and salad, for lunch or at dinner. Broa's traditional accompaniments are caldo verde (a kale, potato and sausage soup), and a dish of peas and eggs. We suggest using it for sandwiches and toast; it's a delightful everyday bread.
1 cup (4 1/8 ounces) yellow cornmeal
3/4 cup (6 ounces) hot water
1/2 cup (4 ounces) milk, warmed
2 teaspoons instant yeast
2 1/2 cups (10 3/4 ounces) King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 tablespoons (1 1/4 ounces) honey
1 tablespoon olive oil
Mix together the cornmeal and hot water in a small bowl. Stir in the warm milk, and let the mixture cool to lukewarm. Then add the remaining ingredients and mix and knead them together -- by hand, mixer or bread machine -- to form a smooth, slightly sticky dough.
Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and turn it over, so that the top is oiled. Cover the dough and let it rise for 1 1/2 hours, or until it's puffy; this rising time will develop both the flavor and the gluten.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly greased or floured work surface, knead it lightly (just once or twice), and form it into a ball. Place it onto a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, or one that's been sprinkled with cornmeal. Cover it and let it rise for 45 minutes, or until it's very puffy.
Just before placing the loaf in a preheated 450°F oven, spritz it lightly with water and make four slashes, each about 1/4-inch deep, into the top crust. Place the loaf in the oven and bake it for 10 minutes, then turn the oven down to 400°F, and continue to bake for another 15 minutes, or until it's golden brown. Yield: l round loaf, 12 slices.
Nutrition information per serving (1 slice, 61g): 148 cal, 2g fat, 4g protein, 27g complex carbohydrates, 2g sugar, 2g dietary fiber, 276mg sodium, 90mg potassium, 11RE vitamin A, 2mg iron, 14mg calcium, 64mg phosphorus.
This recipe reprinted from The Baking Sheet Newsletter, Vol. XI, No. 6, Autumn 2000 issue.