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Portugal knows its sweet bread

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By Judyrae Kruse
Herald Columnist
Judyrae Kruse is taking some well-earned time off. Here is an encore column from April 2008.

As we are learning, in addition to a wonderful, goes-with-everything white bread, the Portuguese also make a majorly popular, people-pleasing sweet yeast bread.
Pao doce is actually its true name, but it's apparently most commonly called Portuguese sweet bread. Makes sense, huh?
Now, to broaden our possibilities for this ethnic specialty, we hear from Margie Alfieri: "I found this recipe in a 1959 Kauai cookbook prepared by the Kekaha PTA. I hope it's helpful!" Forum cooks will notice this particular recipe makes a whopping 10 loaves.
If just two loaves is a much better fit for you, then you'll want to try the identical version sent along by both Jo Gunnerson of Edmonds and Eldora Sundin of Arlington.
"Although I've made all my own bread for years," Jo says, "I've never tried this recipe from the 1980 edition of 'Betty Crocker's International Cookbook.' I think it might be the one Terry Fournier is looking for.
"Now, if I were baking this, I'd make a couple of variations, using 1 1/4 cups warm water and 1/2 cup powdered milk. I always use about 1/4 cup high-gluten flour in my breadmaking. It makes for a more tender and moist loaf."
Eldora's recipe comes from the same Betty Crocker cookbook, but also includes directions for turning the dough into snail loaves (caracois). Her recipe notes the loaves (or snails) go well with coffee or tea, and can also stand in as a substitute for dinner rolls at a buffet.
"Maybe this is the one Terry Fournier is looking for," she says.
So, pao doce today, big batch or small:
Portuguese sweet bread
10 pounds flour
5 pounds plus 5 teaspoons sugar, divided
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup shortening
5 cakes yeast
1 cup lukewarm water
2 1/2 dozen eggs, slightly beaten
1 can (12 ounces) evaporated milk
6 cups lukewarm water
2 eggs
Sift flour, sugar and salt into a very large bowl; add butter and shortening. In a large bowl, add yeast and the 5 teaspoons sugar to the 1 cup lukewarm water. Do not stir until ready to pour into first mixture in the very large bowl. Let yeast rise.
Add the slightly beaten eggs, evaporated milk and the remaining 6 cups lukewarm water to the risen yeast. Stir and pour yeast mixture into the flour and butter mixture. Knead until the dough doesn't stick to your hands. Cover and let rise until double in bulk.
Punch dough down, divide into 10 equal pieces, shape into loaves and place in greased bread pans. Let rise until dough is even with the top of the pan. Beat remaining 2 eggs, brush on tops of loaves and then bake at 325 degrees for 1 hour. Watch carefully as loaves brown easily.
Makes 10 loaves.
Pao doce (Portuguese sweet bread)
2 packages dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
1 cup lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
3 eggs
1/2 cup margarine or butter, softened
5 1/2-6 cups all-purpose flour, divided
1 egg
1 teaspoon sugar
Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk, the 3/4 cup sugar, salt, 3 eggs, margarine or butter and 3 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover and let rise until double, 11/2 to 2 hours. (Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.)
Punch down dough; divide into halves, shaping each half into a round, slighly flat loaf. Place each loaf in a greased, round, 9-inch layer cake pan. Cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Beat remaining egg slightly and brush over loaves. Sprinkle with remaining 1 teaspoon sugar. Bake until loaves are golden brown, 35 to 45 minutes. Makes 2 loaves.
For snail loaves (caracois): After dividing dough into halves, roll each half into a rope about 11/2 by 25 inches. Coil each rope to form a snail shape in a greased, round, 9-inch layer cake pan. Continue as directed in bread recipe.
Makes 2 caracois.
The next Forum will appear in Friday's comics section.
Story tags » CookingFood

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