I have been working for a few months in a company that sells equipment for the food industry, in particular for the bread sector. I already had the idea that in Portugal we eat a lot of bread and that we have a very close connection with this food, but I never imagined that I would come to know so closely how deep is the tradition of bread in Portugal.
In Portugal, the bread tradition goes back to immemorial times and is the basis of our gastronomy and food. Based on three cereals (wheat, corn and rye) varies according to their origin in size, shape and flavour. There are varieties of all shapes that we love to eat as a main course, as an ingredient of other dishes or even as dessert. I leave here a small (mini) bread guide that we traditionally eat in Portugal:
Quick guide to Portuguese bread
Perhaps the most typical and common is the papo-seco or carcaça. This is a small bread, made of wheat flour, very light and that you want to find crispy. It is common for breakfast or afternoon snack, only with butter or with ham and cheese. Roasted with butter and accompanied by a good cup coffee is a pleasure on a cold and rainy day.
In this category we have two loves. On the one hand, dense, heavy, well-cooked and thick-crusted Alentejo bread (pão alentejano) either just sliced and tasted with olive oil or as part of some typical dishes. On the other hand, Mafra bread (pão de Mafra), made with a high percentage of water, cooked in a wood-fired oven, that leaves us salivating just to imagine eating it hot with melting butter.
There are rye, corn, wheat and mixed mixtures breads we call broas. Perhaps corn bread (broa de milho) is the most common and most frequent. Usually served as a starter in the meals along with other types of bread, they can also be eaten sliced, toasted or served in traditional dishes.
Bread on the plate
Or rather, as a dish. In Portuguese gastronomy there are numerous dishes in which bread comes not only as accompaniment, but also as an ingredient. Varied açordas and migas, stews, açorda alentejana, codfish with broa, are just some examples of Portuguese dishes where we can taste the tradition of our bread.
Bread as dessert
The first example that comes to mind (and that immediately smells of Christmas) are the french toasts we call rabanadas. The rabanada is basically sliced bread, doused in milk, passed through the egg, then fried and wrapped in sugar and cinnamon.
Bread as a language
Such a strong presence in the life of the Portuguese had to leave a mark in our language and therefore there are dozens of proverbs about bread: “House where there is no bread, everyone rags and no one is right”, “Whoever is hungry, dreams of bread “,” Bread eaten, bread forgotten “,” Beauty do not give bread nor abundance “.