Rustic Yeast Cornbread Portuguese Style
The Perfect Accompaniment For Fall Soups
Perfect bread for soup! This deliciously dense flavorful bread has just the texture I love for a soup accompaniment. You can adjust the recipe to provide more or less cornmeal crunch. It’s up to you. So versatile. I love spooning beans or soup right over a slice. But I love it with butter too. If you want the true rustic crust spray the top of the loaf lightly with water just before baking … and the sides of the oven too every 15 minutes during baking. My recipe will truly become your own.
The prep time is minimal and the 2 rises are fast. Bakes in approximately 45-50 minutes. Allow 2-2 1/2 hours for the complete process. It’s worth it!
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F before placing loaves into the oven. Use middle rack. If you find after baking for 40 minutes the crust is not turning golden increase the oven to 375 degrees in the last minutes. No need to remove the bread to do this. When done the bread will sound hollow when tapped on the bottom.
Makes two 9 inch diameter loaves
2 Packets of active dry yeast
1 Teaspoon sugar
1 Cup warm water
2 Cups fine yellow corn meal or use part medium if you want more crunch. If you can’t find fine texture cornmeal you may whirl the cornmeal in a processor until it makes a fine powder.
1 1/4 Cups boiling water
1 Tablespoon olive oil and more for oiling
1 Tablespoon Kosher salt or you may use 1 teaspoon of table salt instead
3 1/2 to 4 Cups of bread flour
Heat the cup of water to 110 degrees F. Use a thermometer if you aren’t sure as too much heat can kill the yeast and too little the yeast will not activate. You have a few degrees flexibility but I shoot for 110.
Sprinkle the sugar and yeast over the top of the warm 110 degree cup of water and wait about 3 minutes before you stir. Stir and set aside in a no draft area for about 10 minutes.
Measure the flour 2 cups and another 1 1/2 cups separately. Set aside.
In a large bowl measure 1 1/2 cups of the cornmeal. Pour the boiling 1 1/4 cups water over the top of the cornmeal and stir vigorously until the cornmeal is smooth. Stir in olive oil. Stir in salt. Let this set until just lukewarm.
Now add the yeast mixture, the remaining cornmeal and 2 cups of the flour to the wet cornmeal mixture. Stir and bring together into a ball. If it’s just too sticky add a little of the additional flour.
Olive oil a large bowl and place the ball into the bowl. Flip the ball over to insure all sides have a little olive oil. Olive oil your hands if the dough is hard to handle. A little sticky is okay.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel or two and place in a draft free area until the the dough doubles in size. If you cover with thick towels or two or a small blanket the rise is usually faster. This takes about 30-40 minutes.
After the first rise punch down and place dough on a floured surface for kneading. Knead and mix the remaining flour in as needed. I used all the flour. Knead about 10 minutes. You don’t want sticky dough but too stiff and the bread will be tough. Add the flour as you need. You may need all 4 cups especially if you are in a humid kitchen.
Form one large ball after kneading and cut the dough in half. Work with one half at a time.
If you want a taller loaf oil two 8-9 inch pie plates. If you like a flatter loaf use a large sheet pan, large enough to accommodate two 9 inch loaves. Oil the sheet pan with oil.
Form each of the two pieces of dough into a ball pulling and smoothing the dough at the top and tucking at the bottom. Place into desired baking dish. Cover the loaves carefully. Provide a cover without too much weight on the dough as it will flatten the dough or the dough will stick to the cover. Again place the dough in a draft free space for about 30-40 minutes until doubled in size.
Now it’s ready to bake. Make sure the oven is preheated. Bake for 40-50 minutes until the bread sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom side.
And if you aren’t sure what soup you might cook along with this try …
My Portuguese Anise Soup! Coming Soon!