Ahhhh, take a deep breath, my friends.
Do you smell it?
That gently yeasty buttery wafting smell…the smell of home, family, and fresh baked goodness.
Oh, yes, it is finally bread baking season!
Here’s an easy, sweet tasting bread for all occasions.
Portuguese Sweet Bread, adapted slightly from King Arthur Flour
1/2 c milk
4 T butter, cut into pats
1/3 c sugar
1 1/4 t salt
3 1/4 c bread flour
1 T yeast
grated peel (zest) of 1 medium lemon
2 large eggs + 1 large egg yolk, white reserved
2 t vanilla extract
Combine the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a saucepan. Heat to lukewarm, stirring to soften the butter. Set aside.
In a mixing bowl, the bowl of your stand mixer combine the flour, yeast, and lemon zest; stir to combine. Add the milk mixture, (stirring first to make sure the sugar and salt aren’t left in the bottom of the cup or pan). Add the eggs, yolk, and vanilla. Mix and knead until the dough is cohesive and smooth; it’ll be very sticky at first. (If you’re using a stand mixer, beat with the flat beater for about 3 minutes at medium-high speed; then scrape the dough into the center of the bowl, switch to the dough hook, and knead for about 5 minutes at medium speed. It will have formed a ball somewhat, but will probably still be sticking to the bottom of the bowl.)
Lightly grease a mixing bowl, round the dough into a ball, and place it in the bowl. Cover, and let rise until very puffy, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.
Lightly grease a 9″ round cake pan. Gently deflate the dough, and round it into a ball. Place the ball in the prepared pan, and tent the dough gently with lightly greased plastic wrap. Let the dough rise in the pan for about 2 hours, until it’s nicely puffy. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
Mix the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon cold water, and brush some onto the surface of the loaf; this will give it a satiny, mahogany-brown crust.
Bake the bread for 15 minutes, then tent it lightly with aluminum foil. Bake for an additional 20 to 25 minutes, until it’s a medium golden brown and its internal temperature registers 190°F on a digital thermometer.
Tips and Tricks:
Whenever I place bread dough in a bowl to rise, I put it in the greased bowl, and then flip it over. so that the top is greased as well. That seems to keep it from drying out on top.
I made this bread to go with our chili from the previous recipe. I wanted something sweeter to counter the savory of the chili. I thought it worked wonderfully.
Additionally, this was a super easy recipe to make and it seemed pretty full-proof.
Everyone enjoyed the bread, though Hubs thought the lemon flavor was a little much. I thought it was very similar to a Hawaiian bread recipe and found it worked well with the chili – and on it’s own as a dessert. 🙂 The kids all liked it, so I call it a success.