The sweet smell of Portuguese bread is filling my kitchen while I type this post. It's lemony, sugary and promising....it's going to be a good one. Sweet, eggy, lovely breads like these are dangerous for me to bake. Dangerous because I'll stand at the counter, slathering butter on a slice of still warm bread, take a bite and dream away.........and before I know it, half the loaf is gone and I am slightly nauseous from all the eating.
Tanna chose this lovely sweet Portuguese bread. What a way to start my day! The bread is easy to make (remember to make the sponge the day before) and will toast up lovely if you don't eat the whole loaf in one go. I chose to make a loaf according to instructions, and one pan loaf, so I could slice it and make toast for the next couple of mornings.
Sweet Portuguese Bread
For the sponge
3/4 cup of bread flour
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1/4 cup potato water (I didn't have any so used water with a pinch of mashed potato flakes)
For the dough
6 tablespoons butter, room temperature
1/2 cups of brown sugar
Lemon zest of one medium lemon
1 teaspoon salt
3 large eggs, room temp.
1/2 cup of milk, room temp.
4 1/2 cups of bread flour
Mix together the sponge the night before baking the bread. Leave sitting at room temp 8 to 12 hours (overnight).
Beat sugar and butter until creamy. Add zest and salt and beat. Beat in each egg separately and completely; mix will appear curdled. Stir in milk and sponge.
Stir in 2 1/2 cups flour and beat vigorously (in a stand mixer it would clear the sides of the bowl, by hand lifting the spoon up should stretch the dough about a foot.) Add remaining flour to make stiff dough. Knead 5 minutes or more to incorporate all the flour. The dough should be smooth, soft and very supple with a slight stickiness. Looks a little like very thick cake batter or a brioche dough.
Shape into ball, oil bowl and dough ball. Cover and allow to rise about 2 hours, should almost or triple in size. Divide into two pieces. Shape both as a boule, or shape for loaf pan or cake tin.
Allow to rest 20 to 30 minutes before final shaping. Use a skinny rolling pin or a 1 1/2 inch dowel to make indentations in the dough. Allow to rise an hour to 2 hours; more than double in size.
Before placing in the oven brush with egg wash if you want that beautiful glossy finish. Bake at 350° for approximately 50 minutes. After 35 minutes or so, check to see if the top is not burning or getting too dark. If so, then tent with aluminum foil.
Brush with melted butter when hot from the oven. Try to refrain yourself from cutting into the loaf until it's cooled down sufficiently. Good luck......I failed miserably and cut a big chunk of bread out of the round loaf, slathered it with butter and stood at the counter with a happy-go-lucky greasy grin on my face.....