Portuguese Cornbread Recipe

  Portuguese Bread

1 1/2 cups white cornmeal (or yellow)
1 1/2 cups boiling water
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 Tablespoons sugar
2 Tablespoons butter
1 package compressed or granulated yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup warm water (water for granulated yeast should be slightly more than lukewarm)
1/2 cup milk
3-4 cups (approximately) sifted all-purpose flour (a mixture of 2 parts pastry flour and 1 part all-purpose flour may be used and will make a softer dough)

Grease a 9-inch round pan, 2 to 3 inches deep.
In a large bowl combine cornmeal, boiling water, salt, sugar, and butter. Stir vigorously until smooth. Cool slightly. Add the yeast mixture and blend well. Add milk and flour, using enough flour to produce a moderately firm dough. Place dough on a lightly floured board and knead by pressing down on it with the heel of the hand, lifting the mass off the board, and then throwing it back on the board. Continue this process until dough becomes smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Avoid over flouring the pastry board. Place the dough in a buttered bowl, cover with a clean, dampened towel, and let it rise in a warm, draft-free place. The oven, unheated, is a good spot. Set the bowl over a pan of hot water to hasten rising. When the dough has doubled in bulk, after about 1 1/2 to 2 hours, punch it down in its bowl, then take it out and knead it again two or three times. Shape the dough into a ball, place in baking pan, and allow it to rise again until doubled in bulk, about 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Bake in a preheated 350*F. oven until top is golden brown, 45 to 50 minutes.
Makes 4 to 6 portions
The cornbread will be lighter in texture if dough is allowed to rise twice in the bowl before final rising in the pan. In the Azores, where a large group of the Portuguese people on Martha's Vineyard originated, the white meal is preferred. Enjoy...

Portuguese Cornbread

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