Portuguese Sweet Bread

Portuguese Sweet Bread

Portuguese Sweet Bread:

2 tbsp. active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm water (between 105º F and 115º F)

1 cup lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)

3/4 cup sugar

1/2 cup butter, softened

3 eggs

1 tsp. salt

5 1/2 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

1 egg for brushing on dough

1 teaspoon sugar for topping

Suggested supplies (affiliate links):

8-inch round cake pans

Pastry brush

Food thermometer

Add yeast and water to the mixing bowl of a stand mixer that is equipped with a paddle attachment. Let stand for about 5 minutes at which point it should look bubbly and foamy.

Add milk, sugar, butter, and 3 eggs to the bowl. Blend until ingredients are incorporated. Add salt and 3 cups of the flour and beat until smooth. Slowly add 2 1/2 cups more of flour and beat for about 1 minute. Scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl to incorporate ingredients. If the batter seems wet, slowly add enough of the remaining flour until the dough begins to firm up and clump around to the paddle. Continue beating for a couple of minutes. Change to the hook attachment and continue beating at medium high. The dough should quickly start to ball up around the hook. Beat for 5 to 6 minutes total with the hook attachment. At the end of this period, the majority of the dough should be wrapped around the hook. It should be smooth and silky, yet slightly tacky. It should also be slightly elastic and spring back a bit when stretched. There may be some dough smeared against the sides of the bowl.

Using a rubber spatula or slightly greased hands, scrape the dough and form into a ball. Place into a greased bowl. Cover with a plastic wrap and a towel. Place in a warm area such as under a light to rise until doubled in size (about 1 1/2 to 2 hours).

Punch down dough and divide in half. Shape each into a round flat loaf and place each into buttered and floured round 8-inch pans. Allow to rise and double in size, about 1 hour. Beat 1 egg and brush the top of each loaf. Sprinkle with sugar.

Place in a preheated 350 degrees F oven and bake for about 25 to 35 minutes, until the crust is medium to dark amber (mine is done at the lower end of the time frame). Test for doneness using a long wooden skewer (done when a few crumbs stick to skewer), or check for an internal temperature of 190 degrees F. Over baking will dry out bread. Unmold once removed from the oven. Serve with butter. Makes 10 to 12 servings.

Tip: For a softer crust, rub with butter while still hot out of the oven.