Pão de Milho (Portuguese Corn Bread)

Pão de Milho, also known as Broa, began as a staple cornbread in the poorer regions of Portugal. Corn was introduced into Portugal and Spain from the New World, by whalers & fishermen sailing from the New England coast. This unique and delicious bread has been a hearty and easy way for people of all Portuguese society to enjoy bread for centuries. Serve it home-made with any meal along with some butter and it will taste great!

*Makes 1 Loaf*
1 1/4 cups fine white cornmeal
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/4 cups boiling water
1 teaspoon granulated sugar
1 cup lukewarm water, divided
1 tablespoon active dry yeast (or 1 15 mL pkg)
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup white cornflour (approx. measure) or 1/2 cup yellow cornflour (approx. measure)

1) Please note that the corn flour in this recipe is NOT cornstarch; you should be able to find corn flour at your grocery store in either the aisle where flour is sold, or in the aisle where ethnic foods are sold.

2) In a large mixing bowl, mix the cornmeal and salt together, then add the boiling water and stir until smooth.

3) Let this cool until mixture is lukewarm (should take about 10 minutes).

4) Meanwhile, in a measuring cup, dissolve the sugar in 1/2 cup of the lukewarm water and sprinkle in the yeast; let stand for 10 minutes.

5) Now rapidly whisk the yeast mixture with a fork and then stir into the cornmeal mixture.

6) A bit at a time, mix in the all-purpose flour, stopping a few times to slowly add in the remaining 1/2 cup lukewarm water; blend this mixture well, until completely combined.

7) Turn this mixture out onto a well-floured surface and knead until elastic and all ingredients are well blended; this will likely take about 10 minutes.

8) If you need to — and only if you need to — add a bit more flour; you will likely need to if your kitchen is at all humid, as that can keep the dough a little sticky.

9) When smooth and elastic, gather the dough into a ball.

10) Lightly grease a fairly large mixing bowl and put the dough into bowl, turning dough so it is greased all over.

11) Cover bowl with a clean tea towel, place in a draft-free area (try the top of your fridge, or inside your oven — not turned on of course) and let dough rise until doubled in bulk, which should take about 90 minutes.

12) Now punch down the dough and shape it into either one round loaf or two small ones; have ready a well greased baking sheet or a well greased pie plate.

13) Roll the loaf (loaves) in corn flour until well covered, then, if you’ve made the two small loaves, place on baking sheet, or if you’ve prepared just the one large loaf, place on pie plate.

14) Cover with clean tea towel and let rise in a draft-free place for 45 minutes, or until doubled in size.

15) Sprinkle with additional corn flour just before baking.

16) Bake bread in preheated 450F oven for 30 to 40 minutes, or until loaves sound hollow when tapped on bottom; they should be golden brown and crusty on top.

17) Transfer to wire racks and wait impatiently for them to cool.

This recipe was inspired by our friends over at www.food.com, so check them out, and tell us what you think of this recipe in the comment box below!


  1. Diaperdiva

    twice I made this and it did not rise. I was extremely careful also.

    • Pbicudo1

      It is a tricky process to make the dough rise properly. First of all, when you let it rise, make sure it is in an area with a warmer temperature as the dough will rise better and faster this way. You may also need to add a bit more yeast as well. That should work, if not, check if the yeast you are using is expired. Hope that helps!

  2. Emmie

    Try turning the light on in your oven. It provides ambient heat and is a good draft-free place to allow dough to rise undisturbed. Turning the oven on low may cause dough to bloom prematurely and go flat during the final bake.

  3. Doyou have a breadmaker version it would be so much apreciated

  4. I always loved corn bread!
    But it can sometimes be quite thick and heavier than other white breads.

  5. Manuela

    Thank you so much for sharing this recipe:) I made it yesterday it came out beautiful and very delicious

  6. Danica

    Love this recipe!! ,my inlaws are portuguese so I needed to make sure this passed the test. As for the rising I doubled the yeast amount and put the light on in the oven a head of time so it got a little warm. Everything literally turned out perfect!

  7. Amybobamy

    We used to eat this for breakfast, in the winter time, served warmed and in a bowl of hot milk. Sometimes .with honey drizzled on top. Mmm…

  8. Carla

    Mine is in the oven rising as we speak. I was raised eating this cornbread, AKA broa, as a child. My favorite way to eat it was in a bowl of café com leite. I’ve had it toasted with butter, fried in olive oil & garlic and just plain with some sardinhas. Maravilha!!

  9. Mariana

    Awesome recipe and very easy to follow. It worked wonderfully and impressed my husband who is my greatest critic.

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