Now, about that loaf…
What began as a way to get a better English Muffin, evolved into something even more fantastic than I really could imagine. As you read earlier, I was out to make a modified starter – which we did, and succeeded in that task. What came next was to modify the dough to impart more flavor.
To do that, I borrowed a lot from a standard sourdough recipe utilizing a long slow refrigerated proof and by adding a certain amount of corn flour (superfine milled corn meal) to the mix as well.
Tasting the dough, I knew I was on to something. So, I decided to check around through my books and see if there was an actual existing loaf like what I was creating.
There is…. kinda… sorta.
This is basically a Portuguese Broa loaf. Although mine has the addition of the starter.. and less corn flour, and there is less sugar than in a traditional loaf…. then there’s the whole 24 to 36 hour cooler rise going on…
So…yeah… kinda, but not really.
The Portuguese Broa is a hearty, tough-crusted, yeast risen bread; usually made with equal (or near about) parts of corn flour and wheat. The resulting loaf is a finely textured, light & airy bread with a much denser chew – similar to artisan and sourdough. It can be right at home slathered with butter at breakfast, or gracing the table alongside a hearty soup or stew.
Plate Fodder Hybrid Broa
Makes 12 Muffins + 1 Medium Loaf / or 2 Medium Loaves / or 1 big honkin’ Loaf
3 Cups Bread Flour
1/2 Cup Corn Flour
1 Cup (+ 1 Tablespoon) Water
1/2 Cup Warm Milk
1 Tablespoon Sugar
2 Teaspoons Salt
1 Teaspoon Yeast
1 Ounce Lard
1/2 Teaspoon Baking Powder (wicked odd, right? We’ll get to the how and why of this later on*)
Tools of the Trade:
Stand Mixer With Hook
Spray Bottle of Water
Make your Starter
Place all the ingredients, except the baking powder, in the bowl of a stand mixer with the liquids on top. Mix on low until it roughly pulls together. Set the speed to 4 and the timer to 6 minutes. Let the dough knead. It will pull away from the sides quickly and look a tad dry early (for dough)
Add the 1/2 Teaspoon of Baking Powder and continue kneading for another 6 minutes.
* Here’s the thing about the baking powder. While it is a leavening, in conjunction with yeast and other wild yeast leavening baking powder can act as a rise retardant keeping any CO2 formation from being massive. And, while wild irregular air pockets and bubbles in some breads are wonderful, in this instance I wanted a bread texture that would be smooth and consistent.
Leaving the dough in the mixing bowl, cover with plastic and refrigerate for 24 to 36 hours. (The longer the chilled proof – the more sourdough-y the bread will taste). As a note, this loaf proofed for 26 hours.
Set the bowl on the kitchen counter and rest for 1 hour
Divide the dough into half , and either roll out and cut 3″ muffins
Or, form into 2 round balls. for the loaves, Place the dough into 10″ cake pans that have been lightly sprayed with Oil.
Cover with plastic wrap and proof in a warm location for 1 hour
For Muffins – go back to The Modern English Muffin for that procedure
Preheat the oven to 425
Make 3 long slashes across the top of the loaf
Place a small pan with 1/4 Cup of water in the oven.
Place the bread pans in the heat and immediately give the interior of the oven a good spritzing of water and close the door.
Bake at 425 for 20 minutes, then remove the loaf from the pan and turn over directly onto the rack. Bake another 10 minutes.
For Crusty bread – you’re done. Cool completely on a rack until cool before attempting to slice.
Me? I’m not such a fan of hard bread, So immediately pulling from the oven, I give it a good brushing with melted butter. This will make the crust slightly more tender and crisp – as opposed to hard. Again, cool completely on racks before slicing.
Oh…. and how did those muffins turn out?