You will find this flat round bread, bolo de caco, everywhere on the island of Madeira. And if you are lucky it will still be warm and dripping with garlic butter! Bolo do caco is made from a combination of flour and sweet white potato. That is why the crumb is so soft and tender. It is difficult to grow grains in Madeira but the sweet potato does very well on small the terraced fields. The Madeirans found out that the sweet potato can replace part of the expensive imported wheat in bread baking bread. Bolo do caco was originally baked on a red-hot piece of stone called caco. Hence the name. This bread is still baked on large griddles or in sturdy pans. So you won’t need an oven when you want to bake this delicious bread!
Bolo do caco, no oven bread
For 4 large or 8 small breads
200 g (7 oz) sweet potato with white flesh
1 sachet instant yeast (7g / 2 ¼ tsp)
1 tsp sugar
± 250 ml / 1 cup lukewarm water
500 g / 4 cups flour
9 g / 2 tsps salt
150 g / 2/3 cups butter, room temperature
1 bunch parsley, finely chopped
2-3 cloves garlic, crushed
Peel the potato and cut into pieces. Boil in little water for ± 15 minutes until soft (or prick holes in the skin of the potatoes and heat for ± 5 min. in the microwave until done).
Mix the yeast and sugar in a large bowl with 75 ml / 1/3 cup of the water and let stand for ± 10 minutes until foamy.
Drain the potatoes, Leave to steam for a few minutes and mash well.
Mix the flour with the salt and the rest of the water in a bowl. Now add the yeast mixture.
Bring together into a ball and knead for another ± 10 minutes. The dough should ben nice and soft. Add a little more water if the dough is still dry or a little more flour if it is still very sticky. Kneading is necessary to get nice, airy bread.Tip the dough in a large bowl, cover and let it rise in a warm place for about 1 hour or until the dough has approximately doubled in volume.
Divide the dough into four pieces (or 8 if you want to make small rolls) and shape each into a ball. Press the balls into flat discs of ± 2 cm thick. Place on floured baking trays, cover with a te atowel of cling wrap and leave to rise in a warm place for ± 30 minutes.
Heat a heavy-bottomed pan over medium heat. Sprinkle some flour over the breads and bake the bola de caco in batches for ± 15 minutes per side. Smaller breads need a little less time. Check regularly and turn the bread occasionally.
Remove from the pan and leave to cool on a rack. Cut the bread in half horizontally and spread the bottom half generously with garlic butter. Put the top half back on and cut into points.
For the garlic butter, mix the butter with the parsley and garlic and season with salt and freshly ground pepper.