February 6, 2009

Portugese Sweet Bread

Joan at Foodalogue has been on a Culinary Tour Around the World. She has asked other bloggers to help her raise awareness of the efforts to fight world famine through organizations that include BloggerAid and the World Food Programme.

The tour began in Norway where Joan met other bloggers and delighted in a sampling of the country’s cuisine. The tour contined to Poland, Germany and France. This week we'll all meet in Portugal, which will be my first stop with the tour!

Around 1915, my maternal grandparents immigrated from Portugal; more specifically from the Azores - a group of nine major islands and eight islets to New Bedford, Massachusetts. I grew up eating the delicious foods of Portugal prepared by my grandmother – my VoVo - including Massa Sovada (Portuguese Sweet Bread). So, let’s get the yeast and flour out and bake some bread!

This recipe starts with a whopping 2 ounces of yeast which is combined with a little flour, sugar and water to make a paste. Milk, sugar (and lots of it!) and salt are boiled in a saucepan after which 1-1/2 sticks of butter are added and allowed to melt. Eggs are beaten in a separate bowl and then added to the flour, yeast and milk mixture.
The dough is shaped into a ball and placed into a bowl to rise for about three hours. This dough rises quite slowly due to the half-dozen eggs in it!
After the dough has risen, it's punched down and shaped into loaves. I used two 9-inch pie pans and a 10-inch springform pan. Alternately, the dough can be made into small loaves or biscuits.
The dough is allowed to rise four or five hours more then an eggwash is brushed over the tops and they are baked at 325F. Baking time depends on the size of the loaves. These baked approximately 40 minutes.
I could hardly wait for this to come out of the oven! Be sure to check out the roundup to see other delicious foods from Portugal!


  1. Karen, I love this post. How cool that you could connect with your heritage by baking that lovely bread. My parents lived for 30 years in Southern Connecticut, where a lot of Portuguese fishermen had settled. We loved the Portuguese bread that we could buy in the deli section of the local supermarkets (not sweet bread, just a fabulous everyday bread). I always brought some home with me after visiting them.

  2. This bread looks so good, I don't think I've ever had it before. Is it kind of like hawaiian bread?

  3. Oh man, I haven't had Portuguese sweet bread since I was a teenager! I used to be friends with a kid whose parent's were from there and he would come to school with chunks of that stuff. So good. It's great for french toast. ;)

  4. Sara: Yes, it's similar to the Hawaiian Bread you find in the store - but this is homemade ;)

  5. This looks so good Karen! I haven't had Portuguese sweet bread in years.

  6. Thanks for meeting me in Portugal. I love that you included your grandparents' photo. Hope to see you again along the tour.

  7. Wow what a lovely loaf of bread, it is so pretty. I love your story too. My cousins are portugese as my great aunt married a portugese man. Then one cousin married a Japanese lady- the kids are beautiful! I am going to have to try that bread some time as it took my breath away when I saw it. Thanks for sharing!


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