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  Added: Oct 27, 2006  •  Visited (2780)  •  Print version Print this recipe (173)  •  eMail recipe eMail recipe (1)  •  Write review  •  Not rated Rate this recipe
Portuguese Sweet Bread
(Massa Sovada)
What You Need:
  • 2 packages or cakes of active dry or compressed yeast
  • A pinch plus 1 cup sugar
  • ¼ cup lukewarm water (110°F to 115°F)
  • 5 to 6 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk (110°F to 115°F)
  • 3 eggs
  • ¼ pound (1 stick) unsalted butter, cut into small bits
  • 2 tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 egg, lightly beaten

  • How To Cook:
    1. In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast and a pinch of sugar over the lukewarm water. Let the mixture stand for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir to dissolve the yeast completely. Set the bowl in a warm, draft-free place, such as an unlighted oven, for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the mixture doubles in volume.

    2. In a deep mixing bowl, combine the 1 cup of sugar, 4 cups of the flour and the salt. Make a well in the center, pour in the yeast and milk, and drop in the eggs. Gently stir together with a large spoon, and then beat vigorously until all the ingredients are well combined.

    3. Beat in ¼ pound of butter, then add up to 2 cups more flour, beating it in ¼ cup at a time, and using as much as necessary to form dough that can be gathered into a soft ball. If the dough becomes difficult to stir, work in the flour with your fingers.

    4. Place the dough on a lightly floured surface, and knead it, pressing down and pushing it forward several times with the heel of your hand. Fold it back on itself and repeat for about 15 minutes until it is smooth and elastic.

    5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a large, lightly buttered bowl. Dust the top with flour, drape with a towel and set aside in the warm, draft free place for 45 minutes to an hour until the dough doubles in bulk.

    6. With a pastry brush, coat the bottom and sides of two 9-inch pie plates with 2 tablespoons of softened butter. Punch the dough down with a single blow of your fist, then transfer it to a lightly floured surface and let it rest for 10 minutes.

    7. Divide the dough in two and pat the halves into flattened round loaves about 8 inches across. Place them in the pie plates and let them rise in a warm place for about 40 minutes.

    8. Preheat the oven to 350°F. With a pastry brush, coat the top of both loaves with beaten egg. Bake in the middle of the oven for about 1 hour, or until the loaves are golden brown and crusty. Cool on cake racks.

        The same dough is often shaped into snail-like loaves (caracois) or braids (tranca a tricana). To make the "caracois", divide the dough into two equal parts and roll each part into a long rope about 1½ inches in diameter. One at a time, loop a rope in ever-smaller concentric circles inside a 9-inchround pie plate to fill the pan completely. Let the loaves rise for 40 minutes, brush with beaten egg and set a few raisins in the center before baking.
        For the "tranca a tricana", gently incorporate ¼ cup of dried currants into the dough after the first kneading. Let the dough rise for an hour. Then punch it down, let it rest 10minutes and divide the dough in two. Roll each half into three 14-inch-long ropes. Lay three ropes side by side and gently interweave them into a thick braid, turning the ends under slightly to smooth and seal them. Make the second braid similarly, then carefully place the loaves on buttered baking sheets and let them rise for 40 minutes. Brush the braids with beaten egg and sprinkle them with ½ cup of sugar (preferably coarsely granulated decorating sugar) before baking them.
    To Make: two 9-inch round loaves
    This recipe is also available in:
    Cuisine » Europe » Portugal
    Main Ingredient » Grains & Cereals » Flour
    Dish » Bread


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