Portuguese Sweet Bread Recipe

Chances are good that you have had a bread very similar to these delicious rolls made in Portuguese style, and from environs about as far removed from the Iberian Peninsula as you can get, according to chef and recipe developer Miriam Hahn. "This is a super common bread in Portugal, they serve it with everything," she says, then going on to explain: "Interestingly, it is very similar to Hawaiian sweet bread. Years ago when people from Portugal flocked to Hawaii to work, they brought this traditional bread recipe with them and soon the Hawaiian version was created."

One taste of this stuff and you'll have little wonder why it's a bread that literally travelled around the world. It's one of those foods that risks ruining the rest of the meal, because you will fill up on the stuff if you're not careful. As to what makes the best rest of the meal, Hahn says: "You can serve this bread with a soup or stew. It is great as just a side dinner roll, and also great for small slider sandwiches. It's even nice on a brunch menu with butter and jam." If you love a sweet, versatile bread, then keep reading to learn how to make Portuguese sweet bread.

Gather your ingredients to make Portuguese sweet bread

It does not take much to make great bread, and there are no hard-to-find or unusual ingredients here. It's all about how you handle common stuff. All told, all you need is some warm water, active dry yeast, a decent dose of granulated sugar, some unsalted butter, softened, an egg (plus one more if you want to add an egg wash before the baking), milk, salt, bread flour, and oil.

Activate the yeast and make the dough

Mix the water and yeast in a small bowl and set it aside. "You will be using warm water to mix with the yeast," Hahn says. "If it is too hot, you will kill off the yeast. Best to use a food thermometer to test the water and make sure it is between 105 and 110 Fahrenheit [but] if you don't have a food thermometer another test is to simply put your fingers in the water and if it is warm enough to keep your fingers in it for a few seconds without being too hot, you are good to go."

Then put the sugar and softened butter in a large bowl and beat them together with a mixer for two minutes until they are blended. Next, add an egg and beat to incorporate it. Then add the milk, salt, and the yeast mixture. Blend for two more minutes until everything is mixed. Next, add the flour a half cup at a time and mix it in with the hand mixer. Then spread the dough on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough forms a smooth consistency, adding flour as needed to help with the stickiness. "If you have a stand up mixer, you can use the dough hook and knead for about five minutes," Hahn says.

Form the dough balls

Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to a clean bowl and spread it around the sides, and coat the ball of dough with oil as well. Place the dough in the bowl, cover it with a dampened towel, and leave on the counter for one and ½ hours. "Or you can put in the oven while it is turned off to create a warm environment," Hahn says.

When the time is up, take the dough out and form it into seven balls. Add the remaining oil to a round 8-inch baking tin and add the dough balls, placing six around the circle and one in the center. (Alternatively, you can bake one round loaf.) Now cover the pan with a cloth and allow to rise again for one and ½ hours.

Bake the bread

About 15 minutes before the second resting time is up, preheat the oven to 350 F. If you want to add an egg wash, beat the second egg in a small bowl and brush over the tops of the dough balls — this will create a bit more browning and crunch, but it's not necessary. Now place the pan in the oven and bake the bread for 20 minutes or until the bread turns golden brown. Let it cool for 15 minutes before serving. "It is so delicious straight out of the oven, but will keep nice for a few days in a sealed container or ziplock bag," says Hahn, adding: "You can freeze it for up to a month, but I highly recommend eating it fresh."

Portuguese Sweet Bread Recipe
5 from 21 ratings
Similar to Hawaiian rolls, these Portuguese sweet breads rolls have the perfect balance of sweet and savory flavors.
Prep Time
15
minutes
Cook Time
20
minutes
Servings
7
Servings
bread rolls with strawberries
Total time: 35 minutes
Ingredients
  • 2 tablespoons warm water (heated between 105 F and 110 F)
  • 2 ¼ teaspoons active dry yeast
  • ½ cup granulated sugar
  • ¼ cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 egg (plus 1 more if you want to add an egg wash before baking)
  • 7 tablespoons milk
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 2 cups bread flour + more for kneading dough
  • 3 tablespoons oil, divided
Directions
  1. Mix the water and yeast in a small bowl and set aside.
  2. Put the sugar and butter in a large bowl and beat with a mixer for 2 minutes until blended.
  3. Add 1 egg and beat to incorporate, then add the milk, salt, and yeast mixture. Beat for 2 more minutes until blended.
  4. Add the flour ½ cup at a time and mix with the hand mixer to blend.
  5. Spread the dough on a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes until the dough forms a smooth consistency, adding flour as needed to help with the stickiness.
  6. Add 2 tablespoons of the oil to a clean bowl and spread around the sides, then coat the ball of dough with oil as well. Place the dough into the bowl.
  7. Cover and leave the bowl on the counter for 1 ½ hours (or you can put in the oven while it is turned off to create a warm environment).
  8. Take the dough out and form it into 7 balls, then add the remaining oil to a round 8-inch baking tin, and add the dough balls.
  9. Cover the pan with a cloth and allow the dough to rise again for 1 ½ hours.
  10. About 15 minutes before the time is up, preheat the oven to 350 F.
  11. If you want to add an egg wash, beat the egg in a small bowl and brush over the tops of the dough balls.
  12. Place the pan in the oven and bake for 20 minutes or until golden brown. Let cool for 15 minutes before serving.
Nutrition
Calories per Serving 330
Total Fat 14.4 g
Saturated Fat 5.2 g
Trans Fat 0.3 g
Cholesterol 41.8 mg
Total Carbohydrates 44.0 g
Dietary Fiber 1.3 g
Total Sugars 15.2 g
Sodium 183.9 mg
Protein 6.5 g
The information shown is Edamam’s estimate based on available ingredients and preparation. It should not be considered a substitute for a professional nutritionist’s advice.
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