Sparkle Kitchen
sparkle kitchen: broa

sparkle kitchen: broa

In this week’s At Home with Martin & Sylvia story "Round the World", Martin and Sylvia learn about an explorer named Ferdinand Magellan. His story inspires them to transform their living room into a mighty sailing vessel – and oh, what surprises are found by these two daring explorers!

Magellan was a Portuguese explorer who organized the first trip to circumnavigate the globe. While Magellan died in the Philippines before the trip could be completed, that’s still a very long sailing voyage to reenact on an empty tummy.

So why not make your little explorers some broa, a tasty bread that originates from the home country of Mr. Magellan, himself?

Broa is the Portuguese version of cornbread. Unlike American cornbread, flour and cornmeal are mixed together to give the bread a dense texture. Broa is also leavened with yeast instead of baking soda.

While our family found that plain broa is not as sweet as American cornbread, sliced with a spread of jam on top broa would satisfy the hungriest sailor. If you wanted to make an entire Portuguese meal, you could also serve your broa up with Caldo Verde, a traditional Portuguese soup with sausage, potatoes, and kale.

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2 packages (or about 1 1/2 Tablespoons) dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water

1 Tablespoon honey

4 Tablespoons butter

1 cup boiling water

1 1/2 cups corn meal

Generous pinch of salt

1 1/3 cup flour (with extra for flouring your countertop)

1/3 cup water

2 Tablespoons olive oil


Using a fork, whisk the yeast, warm water, and honey in a large bowl. (If you have a stand mixer with a dough hook it works well, but this can be made by hand, too.) Let it rest for about 5 minutes until the yeast is a little foamy.

Meanwhile, melt the butter. Separately, begin boiling 1 cup of water in a saucepan. Once the water boils, add the corn meal and salt and mix rapidly. Pour the melted butter into the saucepan, and continue to mix until the mixture has cooled just slightly, about 1 minute.

Mix the corn meal into the yeast mixture. Add the 1/3 cup water, and then—a little at a time—mix in the flour. As with all bread, depending on the day, you may have to add a little more flour or water to get the dough to the right consistency. It should come together into a ball, but not be overly sticky.

Once the dough comes together, plop it out onto a floured countertop and knead it for a few minutes until the dough is reasonably smooth.

Put the dough back in the bowl, and drizzle the olive oil over the top to keep it moist. Cover with a tea towel, and let it rise in a warm place for 30-60 minutes.

When the dough has about doubled in size, punch it down. Shape it into a round loaf, cover it with the tea towel, and let it rise again.

Meanwhile, preheat your oven to 400 degrees. A cast iron skillet or pizza stone will work well for this bread, but if not a sheet pan will work fine, too. In either event, place the pan you’re using in the oven while it preheats so that the pan gets hot too.

When the dough has risen again and the oven is hot, quickly and carefully pull your preheated pan out of the oven. Put the bread in the center, and pop it all back in the oven for 30-40 minutes. You’ll know your broa is done when the top is golden brown, and the bread makes a hollow thud when you knock on top of it.


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About the Author

Meryl Carver-Allmond

Sparkle Kitchen & Craft Blogger

The Sparkle Kitchen Series is created by Meryl Carver-Allmond.

Meryl lives in a hundred year old house near the prairie with her sweet husband, two pre-schoolers, one puppy, one gecko, and about ten chickens. While she's been writing since she could pick up a pen, in recent years she's discovered the joy of photography, too. She feels lucky to be able to combine those skills, along with a third passion--showing people that cooking for themselves can be healthy and fun--in her weekly Sparkle Kitchen posts.

When Meryl isn't writing for Sparkle Kitchen, you can find her on her personal blog, My Bit of Earth, where she writes about chickens, babies, knitting, gardening, food, photography, and whatever else tickles her fancy on any given day.

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