Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Broinhas de Batata (potato scone)

Broinhas de Batata doce are best translated as Potato Scones - these delicious little scones are made with raisins or currants, walnuts and almonds and spiced with cinnamon and fennel. I also use grated orange rind.

There are also a couple of 'secrets' I will share with you so your Broinhas de Batata will have a greater depth of flavor.

This recipe makes about 15 scones. This is not a 'yeast bread' but still a traditional Portuguese bread worth baking.

Broinhas de Batata doce
Ingredients (dough)
1 medium potato (cut up, steamed and mashed)
1 1/2 cups of flour
1/3 cup sugar
1 teaspoon baking powder
2 eggs
1/2 cup milk
4 tablespoons of unsalted butter (melted)
zest of one orange 
1 tablespoon ground fennel
1 tablespoon ground cinnamon

Fruits and nuts
1/2 cup raisins or currants
1/3 cup chopped walnuts
1/3 cup chopped almonds

Substitutions - any dried fruit will work! Figs, dried cranberries, etc. You can also use lemon rind instead of orange.


1. Steam and mash the potatoes. (secret #1) After the potatoes are mashed and still hot, add the zest of the orange. The heat of the potatoes releases the essential oils of the orange rind, adding greater flavor. Cover and let sit for 1/2 hour
2.  Soak the raisins (or currants) - (secret #2) If you happen to have Port wine (a good red wine will also work) - heat enough wine to just cover, and soak the raisins for 1/2 hour.
3. In a large bowl combine the potatoes, eggs, milk, sugar, melted butter,cinnamon and fennel and mix together until blended. Add the flour and baking powder, nuts and raisins and mix - wet all the ingredients but do not overmix. The dough should be moist and slightly sticky but not too wet. You may need to adjust by adding a little more milk or flour.

You should be able to spoon out a portion and it will hold it's shape but still be a little sticky.

Next - put about 1/4 cup of flour in a soup or shallow bowl. Spoon out a portion of the batter about the size of a small potato. I use a tablespoon to do this - and the batter is thick enough (but still sticky) so what I spoon out is about the size of a small potato. Place the batter into the flour in the bowl and gently turn it to lightly coat the surface. This coating of flour allows you to handle the soft dough. Place the scone onto a baking tray sprayed with Pam.

Bake at 350F for about 20-25 minutes until golden brown.

Wednesday, July 30, 2014

Pão de Bico

Pão de Bico is a wonderful white bread - with a chewy crust and a soft, tender inside. This makes a great all-around bread. Server with soup, stew, glass of wine and cheese, or make a sandwich,  - enjoy!

Pão de Bico

This bread came about after someone posted a comment about a bread he used to eat, but the bakery closed. The description he gave me fit the Papo de Secos but he said it was a larger bread, not a roll.

Pão de Bico is really a giant Papo -so I made this recipe to share with John.
Bico = 'beak'

Pão de Bico is interesting because 'Bico' means beak (like a chicken) and the bread is always dusted with flour and scored the long way to resemble a 'chicken beak'.

It always amazes me what we can do with flour, water and salt! The secret to the large holes is to have a moist dough and avoid over handling the dough. This allows the air pockets to remain. The down-side is, wet (high hydration) dough is much more difficult to work with. You need to practice and get the feel of working with and shaping a sticky dough.


2 cups bread flour
1/8 cup rye flour
1 1/4 cup spring water
3/4 cup natural starter
3/4 teaspoon sea salt


1. In a large bowl add the 2 flours and water and mix together - this will be rather sticky and wet. Let this sit for a minimum of 20 minutes - I usually let mine sit for 1-2 hours. (This is called autolayse)

2. Next, add the salt and the starter and mix this together - you can't really knead this dough, it will be a sticky mass.

3. Cover and let sit 8-10 hours.

NOTES: If it is very warm, let the covered bowl sit in the warm place for 3-4 hours and then transfer the bowl to the fridge to slow it down. I almost always make by doughs at night, then in the morning they are ready to shape and bake. Vermont nights are usually cool so the rise is fine if I leave it out.

4. In the morning, pour out the dough onto a floured board.

5. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions

6. With floured hands - dust the surface of the dough and form it into a rectangle shape. The dough is still sticky so you need to keep some flour nearby to keep it dusted so you can work with it. Fold one long edge into the middle and gently use your fingertips to pinch it into the other layer of dough. Don't get too fussy here - just press with your fingertips.

7. Fold the other edge over, turn with the seam side down and gently shape the dough into an almond shape. You can press (gently) the ends toward the middle and this will fatten the middle - then use your hands to smooth and shape. (Really hard to describe in words!)

8. Place the shaped dough onto a floured cloth. A couche (pronounced koosh) or proofing cloth can be used on which to proof dough, or it can be used to cover the dough. Couches are made of linen and once dusted with flour (white, semolina or rye) the dough will not stick. The clothes are left unwashed, so as to let yeast and flour collect in them, aiding the proofing process.

9. Do the same with the other piece of dough and set it onto the cloth, pinching up the cloth between the loaves. Cover and let sit for 1 hour in a warm place (I use the oven with the light on)

10 FINAL STEPS - dust the tops with either white flour or white rice flour

11. Use a razor to score down the long way.

12. Preheat oven to 425F. I bake on a pizza stone and place a tray with water on the bottom rack. This most closely mimics a wood fired oven. Bake for about 25 minutes - the breads should be golden brown.

13.  Check out the big holes! Wait 20 minutes before cutting into the bread (It's still baking deep inside for about 15-20 minutes after it comes out of the over)

Sunday, July 6, 2014

Pão de cerveja

Pão de cerveja is 'Beer Bread' - and what a treat! This bread may be made with Portuguese beer if you can get it, or any Lager beer (Lager is the best for bread making) You can experiment with light, amber or dark lagers. All the results will be great. I have found the darker the beer, the more 'rich' or intense the flavor.

Pão de cerveja is simple to make and like many great breads the main ingredients are flour, water, starter and salt... of course in this bread we add beer. This recipe will make 2-3 loaves.


2 1/2 cups bread flour
Lager beer and Sea Salt

1/4 cup rye flour
1 cup natural starter
1 teaspoon sea salt
3/4 cup lager beer
1/2 cup spring water


1. In a large bowl mix the flours, beer and water. Using a wooden spoon or your hands, mix to a sticky mass. Cover and let sit for 1 hour. This is called 'autolyse'. (no salt or starter at this point)

2. Add the starter and salt and mix well - the dough will be wet. Add some flour around the edges and knead gently for several minutes. Dust your hands with some flour if the dough gets too stick.

3. Cover and let rise overnight. In the summer you can let the bread rise for a few hours, then refrigerate.

4. The next day (10-12 hours slow rise) use a scraper to place the dough on a floured surface.

5. Your dough is wet - this is a little tricky! It will look like this:

6. Using a plastic bread blade, divide the dough into thirds.

7. Now you want to use a 'stretch and fold' technique to shape the loaves. You do this technique by dusting your hands, then flatten the dough gently into a rectangle and then as you stretch it fold into thirds.

8. Do this 3 or 4 times and the dough will smooth and begin to be easy to shape. For the final shaping make your rectangle again and then when you make the first 1/3 fold, use your fingertips to press the edge in. Fold again over to the edge and press to seal. Flip seam-side down onto a sheet with cornmeal. (see photos below)

Press only along the edge to seal in, then fold again

Press along the edge to seal

Flip seam-side down and use you hand to gently shape

Dust a baking sheet with cornmeal 

9. Cover and let rise 1-2 hours.

10. When risen, slash and bake for approx 25- 35 min at 430F. Loaves should be golden brown when done and sound hollow when tapped.

11. Enjoy! Look at that crumb! Big holes!

Tuesday, July 1, 2014

Pão de Deus

Pão de Deus - roughly translates as "Heavenly Bread" and there is a good  reason for the name! These little sweet rolls, made with butter, eggs, sugar, milk and grated lemon are filled with coconut and baked to a golden brown - they are 'heavenly'...
Pão de Deus

Here is the recipe and technique - this makes 8-9 rolls


3 eggs (reserve one out)
1/2 cup sugar
4 tablespoons butter (unsalted softened)
3/4 teaspoon sea salt
1/2 cup Shredded Coconut
1/2 cup milk
1 small lemon - grate the yellow skin
2 1/2 cups bread flower
1 cup natural starter


1. Combine the softened butter, sugar, 2 eggs, salt and grated lemon peel in a large bowl.

2. Whisk together for 2-3 minutes until light and fluffy

3. Next, add the flour, starter and milk

4. Mix together to form a slightly sticky dough, all ingredients should be well incorporated.

5. Knead the dough 5-8 minutes until smooth and elastic - the dough will be soft. (Note - I knead with 2 hands but I use one to take the picture!)

6. Cover dough with plastic film, then cover the bowl with 1 or 2 towels and let rise 2-3 hours at room temperature and then move to the refrigerator for a slow overnight rise. In the morning, remove from the fridge and let rise a while longer until ready. This slow rise really develops the flavors and makes the bread 'heavenly'. Refrigeration will slow down, and then 'suspend' the rising. It is useful in the summer when warm temps cause the bread to rise too quickly. The lemon peel infuses through the dough, the natural starter breaks down the cells of the wheat and makes a highly flavorful and digestible bread. This takes time - 10-12 hours of slow rise.

7. In the morning remove the dough from the fridge and let it sit for 2 hours to warm up. Divide the dough into 8 or 9 equal parts and form into small balls by folding the dough onto itself several times to 'tighten' the ball. Place on a baking sheet.

SPECIAL TECHNIQUE - This little trick will let you know when the bread is ready to bake! A little magic. Remove a cherry size piece of dough and roll it in your hands to form a little ball.

Grab a small piece of dough and roll it into a ball

Place the little dough-ball into a glass of plain water - the ball will sink to the bottom.

Ball sinks to bottom of glass

When the dough-ball rises to the top - the bread is ready to bake!! 

Ball rises to the top - ready to bake!

8. Back to our rolls - Using kitchen shears, make a deep cut in the center of the roll. The top surface will spread open naturally.

9. All the rolls are split with the shears

10. Next - separate the remaining egg into 2 small bowls - yokes in one and whites in the other. Add the coconut into the egg whites and mix together - it will form a wet paste.

11. Brush the rolls with the egg yoke.

12. Using a spoon or fingers - place the coconut/egg mixture into the slashes formed with the shears (or knife) Don't press too hard - just ease the coconut paste into the slashes.

13. Cover and let rise in the oven for about an hour (or until the dough-ball floats) - heat oven to 350F and bake for about 20 minutes - watch these carefully and remove them when they are golden brown.

14. ENJOY! Serve warm with butter or the next day (if there are any left-over - slice and make French Toast.

Enjoy these delightful 'heavenly rolls'