September 28, 2011

Portuguese Sweet Bread

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One of my top 10 favorites from The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge was Portuguese Sweet Bread. The bread has tight soft sweet crumb and fragrant with lemon, orange, and
vanilla extracts. One bite oftoasted and buttered slice of this bread will make you a convert even if you are not into sweetish breads. It takes the whole day though to prepare but it will be worth your time.

Portuguese Sweet Bread
recipe adapted from

½ cup bread flour
1 tablespoon sugar
2¼ teaspoons instant yeast
½ cup lukewarm water

6 tablespoons sugar
1½ teaspoons kosher salt
4 tablespoons milk powder
4 tablespoons soft butter
2 large eggs
1 teaspoon lemon extract
1 teaspoon orange extract
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 cups bread flour
6 tablespoons lukewarm water water

egg wash
1 egg mixed with 1 teaspoon water until frothy

  • Make the sponge: Whisk together dry ingredients in a small bowl. Add water and stir until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap and ferment on kitchen counter for 60 to 90 minutes or until sponge is foamy and on the verge of collapse.
  • Make the dough: In the mixing bowl of a standing mixer with the paddle attachment, stir together sugar, salt, milk, and butter. Beat until creamy and smooth then mix in eggs and extracts. Replace paddle attachment with dough hook and knead in sponge and flour. Add water as needed  to make a very soft dough.The dough should be easy to knead until supple and soft. Kneading should take 10 minutes with electric mixer and 15 minutes by hand. Lightly oil a container and transfer the dough, coating it all over with oil. Cover with plastic wrap and its lid and ferment at room temperature for 2 hours or until it has doubled in size. 
  • Form the dough: Divide dough into 2 pieces and form each into a ball. Lightly grease two 9-inch pie pans. Place 1 dough ball seam side down in each pan. Mist lightly with oil and loosely cover with plastic wrap. Place pans in an extra large see-through plastic bag. Let rise at room temperature for 2 to 3 hours or until the dough fills the pan fully. 
  • Bake the bread: Preheat oven to 350°F. Very gently brush dough with egg wash and bake for 50 to 60 minutes. The crust will brown quickly but make sure to bake at the recommended time; the final color should be a rich mahogany brown. Remove from pans and let cool for 1 hour before slicing.


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