The love affair between the Portuguese people and Bread is a lifelong case study. Even the famous Fado singer, Amália Rodrigues, in one of her most popular songs said that in a Portuguese house there is always bread and wine on the table.
But even with the massification of the mass production of bread some regions of the country kept the tradition of some different types of local bread. And nowadays, with the consumers wanting more natural and homemade products, the traditional types of bread are in a high demand across the country.
This list wanted to showcase five of the most representative breads of Portugal. Most of them certified products.
The order is simply from the northeast bread, to the southeast. Just that, so we don’t upset any region with the list.
Broa de Avintes
This bread has its origins in Avintes, Vila Nova de Gaia, close to Oporto. It’s a high-density bread, a dark brown colour and its made of corn and rye. And its know for its strong and spicy taste.
Its very popular as a side for any strong meal, like the ones the northern people of Portugal tend to like. And has a common partner on typical smoked sausages, like Chouriço and Linguiça.
Broa de Milho – Corn Bread
This kind of bread has its origins on the centre north of the country, but has spread to all of mainland Portugal. Like the name implies, its made almost exclusively of corn, with sometimes a little mix of rye or wheat.
With a cracked exterior, and crunchy, in a nice contrast with the dense but soft interior.
It’s a little sweet, on the sweetness level of a brioche, but tends to by contrasted with strong salty and fatty savours. Like the Queijo da Serra, on the interior, or the crispy grilled Sardines on the coast.
Pão de Mafra – Mafra Bread
The crunchy, but not too thick, crust, and the fluffy and white interior, made this bread one of the most popular and versatile of the whole country.
On its manufacture is used a lot of water, wheat and a little rye. Made in Mafra, 40km north of capital Lisbon, was a highly prized bread brought every week to Lisbon by the Saloios.
If you want a similar international bread you can go with the Italian Ciabbata, even if the Mafra Bread it a little higher.
Pão Alentejano – Alentejo Bread
From the vast plains of Alentejo, south of Tagus River and north of Algarve, the most traditional wheat fields of Portugal.
And its from the Alentejo wheat that this traditional bread is made. With is peculiar format and a strong consistence is one of the most notable Portuguese breads.
With is mild flavour its used as a base bread for all meals. But also used as an ingredient on several Portuguese dishes. The most notable is the Alentejo Açorda. A soup that uses stale Alentejo Bread inside to become a great example of traditional Portuguese cuisine.
Bolo do Caco – Caco Bread
From Madeira Island comes the Caco Bread, Bolo do Caco. In some way it’s a very peculiar, and multicultural bread.
Made with wheat and sweet potato, a stable from the south of Portugal, it’s baked in a hot plate or a hot tile. In a way more like the North African than of the wood oven that mainland Portugal uses.
It’s a great bread, used as a starter with garlic butter, or as a main course in a sandwich with veal steak, its always a good memory to anyone that ever get to Madeira Archipelago.
NOTE – This list is of the regular, or salty, simple versions of bread. The sweet breads, like Regueifa, or composite, like the Bola, will come on later articles.