Portuguese Corn Bread
I love my Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day book. It has turned me into a bread baker for the first time in my life. I have a lot of problems with my wrists and I just can't knead a proper loaf of bread so I was just sort of resigned to the fact that this meant I could never bake a proper loaf of bread. I have their new book with the whole grain breads too and I have not made a bread that has not turned out yet. It's such an easy, forgiving method that I truly think a trained chimp could turn out a decent looking boule so I don't get too cocky about my skills. It's basically bread making for dummies and I really should stop telling everyone I know about it because by letting them all in on my secret, I am also taking away some of my own thunder but I just can't keep something this great to myself.
I don't know how it can be that I haven't made this particular bread before, since I love Portuguese corn bread but I haven't. I didn't want to make a full batch so I halved it with great results (this has not always been the case but I think it's just a matter of my terrible math skills, not a flaw in the recipes). I didn't flatten the ball out like you are supposed to because I was making sandwiches with the first loaf and the centre was a teeny bit dense but since I toasted them panini style, it didn't affect the sandwiches.
Portuguese Corn Bread
adapted from Artisan Bread in Five Minutes A Day
1 1/5 cups warm water
8ml of granulated yeast
8ml kosher salt
3/4 cup cornmeal
2.5 cups of all purpose unbleached flour
cornmeal for the pizza peel and for dusting on top of the loaf
Mix the yeast and the warm water in a bowl (I make mine in my kitchen aid using the dough hook)
Add the remaining ingredients and either use a big spoon to mix, or a stand mixer like I do. I had to use my wet hands to really get all of the ingredients mixed in and end up with a nice, damp dough.
Cover loosely and let it rest out at room temperature for around 2 hours. If you aren't going to bake it that same day, put in the fridge in a container with a loose fitting lid and use it at some point over the next week to ten days.
If you use it right away, sprinkle a bit of flour on it form a ball out of half the dough. Place it on a pizza peel or inverted cooking tray covered with cornmeal and flatten it slightly. Preheat the oven with a baking stone on the centre rack to 450F and put some sort of empty tray on the rack underneath (I use a small foil baking pan). I like to preheat it for about 20 minutes to make sure it's really, really hot.
Slide the bread onto the baking stone and quickly pour a cup of hot tap water into the baking tray on the bottom rack and close the door right away. Bake for about 30 minutes until nicely browned.
Cool on a rack before slicing if you have the patience.