Broa de Milho (Portuguese Corn and Rye Bread)

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Your recipe for Broa de Milho just jumped to the top of my MUST TRY list. What a fabulous sounding and looking bread. I can’t wait to try the forming technique as well.

I am surely going to try this bread. I don’t have yellow dent corn, but a purple corn that I use for flour to cook polenta. I will use that. The shaping technique looks very interesting.

Looks like an interesting combination of ingredients. Was hard to tell from the pics but did not look like there was much rise during fermentation which doesn’t surprise me given the ingredients. Was there supposed to be? If not on the rise I suppose I could use 100% hydration rye starter and not have to spike it???

Oh your dough handling was funny… didn’t want to get those paws all sticky huh!!

@wendyk320 I’m excited to hear how you like it.

@rockspider I bet the purple corn will look really neat. I’d love to see pics.

@DennisM The dough expanded by maybe 50%. It was pretty thick and heavy so I think more fermentation was happening than was visible. It did get domed, and was very crackly sounding when I divided it.
The shaping technique is really cool, right?! I watched videos of young people in modern kitchens and ancient ladies in front of wood-fired ovens both using the technique. Sometimes their dough was really wet, and you could imagine this was the only possible way to make a free-standing (flat) loaf.

hmmmmmmmmmmmmmmmm… didn’t try the oil routine?? I have shaped dough so wet I almost had to pour it… then had to scoop it up with a 10" plaster’s taping knife (yeah I bought a new one) hahahaha!

BTW I changed my email addy for these forums I figured I’ll be less apt to get do-do when asking dumb questions. Everyone seems to put up with the “ancient ones”. :rofl:

I think the dough handling “flip in a bowl” is interesting for a number of reasons: history for one, but also that the dough looked to get good surface tension which helps with crumb … at least for me. And then there is less mess - YEA!

Hello Melissa,
dough is fermenting (3 hrs now) and altho I understand it’s not supposed to rise much, I’m concerned that it’s so very “flat”. I can tell there’s nominal aeration, but at halfway thru fermentation just wondering if it should be further along.
Q1: Did the starter have to be active? I used refrigerated discard rye-starter, very sweet scent.
Q2: Used controlled mildly warm oven at 82d, and now that the oven has been cooling down, will move dough to the warmed up bread proofer keeping it around 82d (b/c our kitchen ambient temp is fairly darn cold:)
Please advise! Thanks very much!!
~ Patricia

I had a similar fear / dormant looking dough about halfway thru. I suspect your dough will follow the same path and have much more activity toward the end of the timeframe. My starter was ripe but my temps were lower, so it all likely evens out. Fingers crossed for you!

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Hello Melissa,
Thanks for your reply! This first image is just after mixing (3:00PM) and at the onset of fermentation; see following photos taken at 5-hours (now 8:00PM) with noticeable yet very slight aeration, but definitely no where near a dome. When I gently pull the dough with Thermapen tip, I can see short “lines” in the dough that break immediately, but it’s clear fermentation is occurring, and it’s not “dead”. Wondering if it would be best to leave overnight in cold oven abt 65d to continue activity, and then bake in the morning, or is that too long and would affect flavor in a sour way? (which I don’t want). What do you advise??

Do these images reflect what the dough is supposed to look like?
Thank you, Melissa!

So, I went for it! Loved the dough-flipping-shaping in the bowl, so interesting how the dough is affected and the final loaf really settles itself out. Fortunately, the bread actually rose! Thanks so much for the great recipe. The many faces of bread; the last image is its grumpy side:) My favorite is just above grumpy with all the striations.

Beautiful! I’m so glad it worked well for you.
Lol at the grumpy side :slight_smile:

Q1) Altho glad it actually did get some rise, I’m wondering if dough was supposed to have risen and expanded more?
1/2 recipe: overall dims of final baked loaf: 7"L x 6"W x 2-1/2"H
I had used discard rye starter + very warm water and kept ambient temp for fermentation about 82d…Perhaps an active SD starter may have helped, do you think?

Q2) I will surely make this again, yet want to experiment with slightly less cornmeal. What are your thoughts abt replacing 50-75g cornmeal with AP flour?

Q3) Last night in my excited baking flurry and inquiry to you, I realize posted quite a bit of material and want to be cognizant of space here…shall I remove any of these posts to limit input?
Pls advise.

Thanks very much for the great recipe!

Well I have to say that if you haven’t tried sourdough cornbread you’re missing out. Such wonderful flavour. And even adding in a little cornmeal to your usual sourdough breads can lend it great flavour too. Not to mention the fun of shaping Broa de Milho. I think it’s done this way as the cornmeal does compromise the structure of the bread but this shaping method is effective in gaining more structure. Whatever the case it’s not the best of risers but it makes up in taste.

P.s. if you’re in the UK don’t use cornflour. That is cornstarch! Instead use fine cornmeal or fine polenta.

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Q1 Many of the videos I watched showed an end product with the height of biscotti so from a quest for traditional standpoint, I wouldn’t worry about rise too much. The fermentation is more for flavor, digestibility and of course a bit of crumb aeration. How did you find the crumb?

Q2 More all purpose or bread flour will certainly help the rise. The dough is pretty dry so you probably don’t need to adjust water, but you can bring it down a little if you want.

Q3 your photos are lovely and they fit under the maximum size requirement, so I think all is well on that front :slight_smile:

Crumb was very closed, rather dense texture, yet still very delicious:)

It doesn’t look much different from my crumb but it’s hard to tell. I’ll put another photo below of mine.

I’d say you’ve got three options for your next batch:

More water (usually helps open crumb and speed fermentation a little)
More time
More all purpose flour

You can also do a combination of these three changes too :slight_smile:

In your photo, it appears the crumb in your loaf has more holes consistently throughout; my loaf had holes, but not as many and they were dispersed more inconsistently.

Q1) I will surely try your suggestion using a little more AP flour, altho I plan to substitute for some of the cornmeal vs just adding more AP flour. I’m thinking approx 50-75g to substitue, altho what amount do you suggest?

Q2) I will also allow longer fermentation. I now have the bread proofer set up and plugged in, so it’s ready! Please provide the optimal & doable range of times, as well as the range of ambient temp, best suited for fermentation.

Lastly, I’d like to highlight after a long wait time for this bread to hit the oven, the tail-end of the process was most enjoyable and an unexpected surprising thrill…dough-flipping-shaping in the bowl! It was truly amazing to watch this lump of wet, dense dough dusted with flour become alive and somewhat “self-correcting” into its shape and outer texture of cracks, all from its own weight and flipping motion; in moments, the outer shell became very beautiful. Melissa, thanks again very much for your advice and guidance, so helpful technically and in spirit!

Q1) Yep, my wording was off – I also meant substitute AP flour for cornmeal, not add. I usually make flour changes in the 15-20% range so I can get a satisfyingly noticeable difference lol. So 75-100g substituted in a 500g flour dough. Go with whatever you feel comfortable with, of course.

Q2) The beauty of bread is that it can be made in massively different climates. And some of the excitement of sourdough is it’s inconsistency compared with commercial yeast (measureable number of microbes in a packet). Even when we nail down the same time and temp and grams of starter in a recipe, everyone’s starter will still be a little different.
Maybe aim for imitating the temp that you did in round one, since you’re familiar with it, and just change the amount of time. Or pick something that you suspect will work with your schedule for a typical day (cooler and longer?), but do it on a day you can check on things periodically, so you don’t end up with dough-soup. Then extrapolate from those results.

You’re welcome! I’m so glad I could help. I enjoy seeing these recipes come alive in other people’s kitchens. And I agree about the shaping – what a joy. I can’t wait to try it with an einkorn or rye.