Portuguese Sweet Bread

Most of the Convent Sisters love to cook and even those who may not, learn to, so that everyone can help prepare meals.  All are encouraged to be creative, which makes for a great deal of variety in our menu. As a result, we can actually go around the world in a week without ever leaving home.

Thursday evening has been established as Italian night. Many sisters love Asian and Thai cooking. Mexican is a long-time favorite, and Sisters who have spent time in Germany, Korea, and India all like to have a chance to relive their experiences there through cooking dishes native to each country…..thus the great diversity of our meals. We never simply have “the same old thing.”

But one day a week we choose to have only very plain food. Basically bread, cheese, fruit, and a simple soup. This has led to baking many different kinds of bread and one of our favorites has become this beautiful Portuguese sweet bread.

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Portuguese Sweet Bread



  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water, (not hot).
  2. Add warm milk and 1 Tablespoon sugar.
  3. Whisk together and set aside to proof yeast.
  4. In a separate bowl, add eggs, sugar, and lemon juice. Beat well and then add melted butter.
  5. Add yeast mixture, the remaining flour and salt.
  6. Mix well and let rest for 10 to 20 minutes.
  7. Continue mixing until dough begins to pull away from bowl or knead with greased hands until dough pulls away from your hands. This takes a while and the dough is sticky unlike bread dough.
  8. Place in greased bowl and cover to let rise to double, about 1 to 3 hours. Punch down, turn over, and let rise to double a second time.
  9. Carefully break away about 2/3 pound of dough at a time, rolling dough into a nice loaf shape and place into greased loaf pans. This should make about 5 to 7 nice loafs.
  10. Let rise until double in the pans for a third rising.
  11. Make two to three 1/4-inch slits on the top of each loaf and then brush tops with 1 beaten egg mixed with water
  12. Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for about 10 minutes and then reduce heat to about 300 degrees Fahrenheit for another 25 to 30 minutes.
  13. Remove loaves from the oven and lay them on their side on a rack for a couple of minutes before removing from the pan.

6 thoughts on “Portuguese Sweet Bread

  1. My son and I made this tonight to share with his classmates in preparation for their First Holy Communion. We will enjoy it on Bread Sunday. Thank you sisters. God Bless you both.

  2. What a blessing! Thank you so much for sharing this with us. God bless your son as he receives his First Holy Communion.

  3. Good Afternoon Sisters, thank you for posting the bread recipe. I was wondering it if would have the time to break the recipe down into grams or cups even. I weight all the ingredients and I do not know how to read your recipe, but would love to try it.

    Thanks you so much

  4. Hello Deirdre,
    Do you have access to a recipe converter? If not, here is a table that will be a great aid in your kitchen –
    you will be able to convert any of our recipes using this guide.
    I hope this helps! http://www.jsward.com/cooking/conversion.shtml

    Here’s the list of ingredients for you:

    3 pkgs. of Yeast = 3 scant Tablespoons = 21 grams
    1/2 cup warm water = 120 ml
    2 cups warm milk = 475 ml
    1 Tbsp sugar = 12.5 g
    5 lbs. Flour = 2.27 kg
    12 eggs
    3 1/2 cups sugar = 700 g
    3 Tbsp. lemon juice = 45 ml
    2 sticks butter, melted = 240 g
    2 Tbsp. salt = 40 g.
    For Egg Wash:
    Crack the egg and fill both sides of shell w/ water and mix together – that’s the right amount of water for an egg wash.

    Let us know how this works!! God bless your day – Sr.Estelle

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