Butter and Cheese Review (ayse) wrote in bakingfrenzy,
Butter and Cheese Review

Portuguese Easter Bread

felician_logic and I were discussing the merits of a nice Pacific Island sweet bread. From what I know of baking culture in the islands, many of them were strongly influenced by Portuguese explorers coming and sharing cuisine. So I think this Portuguese sweet bread, usually baked for Easter but wonderful at any time of year, comes closest to a real Hawaiian sweet bread. When I was a kid we would make multiple batches, and make braided loaves that we would wrap in festive coloured plastic bags and deliver to friends on Easter. The loaf numbers and shape are strictly optional; I usually make more, smaller loaves.

The recipe was printed in the Boston Globe many many decades ago, and the author has been lost in the mists of time and multiple re-copying of the recipe.


Portuguese Easter Bread
(6 loaves)

2 cups milk
1 cup water (for yeast)
4 packages dry yeast
20 cups flour
3 teaspoons salt
2 cups butter
12 eggs
4 1/2 cups sugar

THE NIGHT BEFORE: scald milk. Cool to lukewarm. Dissolve yeast in 1 cup warm water (105-115 degrees). Sift flour and salt into warm pan (rinsed with hot water). Work butter into flour and salt.

Add dissolved yeast to lukewarm milk. Beat eggs with sugar, add alternately with milk to flour mixture. Mix well.

Knead dough for about 20 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. Place in oiled pan, turning ball over once to oil top and cover with a clean towel, and then with a blanket. Let rise overnight.

THE NEXT MORNING: Punch down dough, knead gently, return to pan and let rise again until double in bulk. (Do not skimp on rising time. This is important to produce a fine-grained bread.)

Divide dough into 6 portions. Form into loaves. Place each in a 9 x 5 x 3" loaf pan. Again, let rise until double in bulk.

Bake for 1 hour in a 325 degree oven until brown. Brush crust with soft butter upon removing from oven.
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