Friday, November 20, 2020

Recipe: Portugese Sweet Bread

Despite being named the baking queen in the family either due to frequency or result of baked goods, I have had far too many failures in baking bread to even say that I can make bread. I made one loaf about 4 years ago which we ate. It wasn't amazing and I was never able to duplicate that mediocre success again. In fact, even though I tried several times, I kept failing again and again.

For some unknown reason this year, I resumed the attempt at making bread. Actually, the reason is known. Most likely due to the desperation of the continuous non stop below freezing temperatures outside has brought to my psyche - otherwise known as extreme and severe cabin fever.

So, I found a great recipe online for Portuguese Sweet Bread. It's a bread with fine crumb and a little hint of sweetness. The best way to describe it is to compare it to the "Hawaiian Bread" being sold at grocery stores but it is more dense and therefore you can eat only 1 roll and be happy versus 3 of the Hawaiian Rolls.

I adjusted the recipe and also created a very detailed step by step instructions since the recipe above relies on a bread maker which I do not have. If you have a bread maker, use the ingredients list and set your bread maker to "sweet bread" the original recipe states.

Portuguese Sweet Bread

1 cup milk (warm to 100 degrees)
2 1/4 tsp dry active yeast (or 1 packet of .25 oz dry active yeast)
1 tsp sugar
1/4 c white sugar
1 egg + 1 egg yolk (warm); reserve extra egg white for brushing on top
1/4 cup butter (4 tbsp melted and cooled)
1 tsp salt
3 cups bread flour

regular stainless steel bowl
prep stainless steel bowl with 1 tsp olive oil
prep baking sheet: use parchment paper sprayed with olive oil or silpat with nothing
floured surface or silpat (see note below about kneading)


Warm Ingredients
Microwave 4 tbsp butter for 20 seconds (let sit and cool)
In pyrex measuring cup, microwave 1 c milk for 1 minute
If you own a candy thermometer, you can check if the temperature is between 100 and 110 not over.

Proof Yeast
Pour milk into stainless steel bowl.
Add 2 1/4 tsp yeast.
Add 1 tsp sugar.
Proof yeast for 10 minutes (yeast will be bubbly and foam; if it does not, start over).

After 10 minutes, add to yeast and milk mixture:
1/4 c sugar, 1.5 eggs, 1/4 c butter (melted but cooled)
Mix until incorporated and eggs yolks are broken down
Add 2 cups for flour and 1 tsp salt.
Mix until flour is incorporate.
Keep adding flour until dough pulls away from sides of bowl but still sticky at bottom.

Take out of bowl and knead on floured surface until dough is elastic.
Elastic dough will be shiny, not too sticky, not too dry.
To test dough, poke it with one finger and an indentation should be seen in the dough.

Put kneaded dough in bowl with a 1 tsp olive oil and roll dough in oil to coat dough and bowl.

Cover with plastic wrap and warm towel. Place in warm place to let dough rise for 1.5 hours.

After First Rise
After 1.5 hours, take dough out and place onto floured surface and punch down dough.

I punch mine several times until it is completely flat.

Form dough back into a ball and knead 5 times at the most.

Kneading Tips
Use silpat if possible. I use plastic wrap on a granite counter top and it sticks to the counter top. I add very little flour to the counter top.

Try not to add flour onto the dough but add flour to your hands to make it not so sticky.

When kneading, use your palms (not fingers) to push dough onto counter.

Remember to knead one direction and do 1/4 turn of dough and knead again.

To Form Loaf
Form dough into loaf. Create a large ball, fold all sides towards bottom of ball.
Set onto prepared baking sheet.
Cover with plastic wrap and warm towel.
Let dough rest until doubled (about 30 - 45 minutes)

Turn on Oven to Preheat

After Second Rise
Remove covers. Slash dough at center to allow steam to escape.
Brush with egg white.
Bake at 375 for 35 minutes.

To Form Rolls
Form 1 large ball with dough then roll into a log.
Cut log into two and form two logs about 2.5 inches wide.
Cut each log into 10 pieces.
Form into balls by rolling and folding dough into itself into the shape desired.
Place into prepped baking pan.
Cover with plastic wrap and warm towel.
Let dough rest until doubled (about 30 - 45 minutes)

Turn on Oven to Preheat

After Second Rise
Remove covers. Slash dough at center to allow steam to escape.
Brush with egg white.
Bake at 350 for 25 minutes.