Our house is slowly getting ready for Easter. I say slowly because we are all getting over one heck of a cold…and sinus infection….not fun. Lots of antibiotics and hot water with lemon and honey. I should have bought stocks in lemons and honey….Anyways today I wanted to share a recipe that has been a family favorite for years. Portuguese Sweet Bread, or as we say in our household, Massa. This bread is sweet, and tastes amazing with a little bit of butter, not to mention it smells amazing.
For years, my mother and my grandmother have each made this bread. I remember Good Fridays spent kneading a dough, letting it rise for hours, and then anxiously awaiting as it baked in the oven. Those were good memories, which made me think, those are the kind of memories I want to pass on to Wendy. However, in order to do so I had to learn how to made this magical bread. SO that’s what I did this year, I watched, I listened, and I learned. I spent an entire Saturday with my mom watching and taking notes as she made the bread. It wasn’t difficult, well, the letting it rise for hours was difficult. I’m a girl of little patience but I survived and I’m sharing my family recipe with you!
- 4½ tsp of yeast
- ½ cup of warm water
- 2 tsp sugar
- 2 cups of milk, warm
- 1 stick of butter
- 1 tbsp salt
- 1.5 cup of sugar
- 8 eggs
- Rinds of a lemon
- 2 tbsp shortening
- 7½ cups of flour
- *Dissolve the yeast in ½ cup of warm water with 2 tsp of sugar. Do not over mix the mixture, you'll run the risk of killing the yeast....I know this from experience. Let this mixture sit and rise for 10mins.
- In the meantime, heat the milk to just before a boil. 180F. Add the butter, then the sugar and salt. Set the mixture aside.
- Beat the eggs in a mixer, add 1 cup of the milk mixture.
- Once combined, add the yeast starter mixture.
- Now add flour, 2 cups at a time, alternating between flour and the rest of the milk mixture.
- Once mixed (the dough will still be a little sticky) transfer the dough to a bigger floured bowl.
- Cover with saran wrap and a warm damp towel.
- Let rise for 3 to 4 hours (I left mine overnight)
- Preheat the oven to 325F
- Once the dough has doubled in size, separate the dough into two or three and place in a greased and floured round pan.
- Cover the round pans, and let the dough rise again for 30mins.
- Brush the dough with an egg wash and bake for 30 - 40 mins, or until the loaves are golden brown.
Now go grab some butter and a cup of tea and enjoy your Easter bread with friends!