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Portuguese Sweet Bread

Portuguese Sweet Bread

  • Prep Time: 30 minutes
  • Total Time: 6 hours
  • Yield: 3 large loaves


  • 2 tablespoons yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water (no hotter than 110 degrees F)
  • 1 cup milk
  • 8 tablespoons butter
  • 9 cups all-purpose flour, plus more as needed
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 6 eggs plus 1 lightly beaten with 1 teaspoon water, for egg glaze
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar


  • In a small bowl stir yeast into the water until dissolved.  Let sit until small bubbles form around edges, 5 to 10 minutes.

    In a small saucepan add the milk and butter and bring to a simmer.  Remove from the heat.

    Combine the flour with the salt and set aside.

    In a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook or in a large bowl with an electric mixer (preferably heavy-duty), beat eggs with sugar until pale and foamy. Beat in milk mixture, then the yeast mixture, until blended. Begin to add flour to egg mixture, beating constantly, until dough begins to come together, then continue to mix on medium for 5 minutes. If dough is too heavy for your mixer, switch to a wooden spoon. Turn the dough out on a lightly-floured surface and knead with lightly floured hands, adding flour as needed, to prevent dough from sticking. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

  • Transfer the dough a lightly oiled bowl, cover with a cloth, and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 2 hours.  Punch down the dough, cover and set aside again until doubled about 1 1/2 hours.

  • Preheat oven to 350 degrees F and lightly grease three 8-inch round cake pans.  

    Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead a few times, squeezing out any air bubbles. Divide the dough into 3 loaves (about 1 3/4 pounds each) and shape into 3 large rounds then transfer to the prepared cake pans.  Cover the loaves and set aside until they rise slightly, about 30 minutes.  Brush the with egg glaze and make a 3-inch long and 1/4-inch deep slit across the top with a serrated knife. 

    Bake for 50 to 55 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 200 degrees F when tested with an instant read thermometer.  Set loaves aside on a cooling rack and allow to cool completely before serving.

Recipe Details