(Portuguese Sweet Bread)
Since Easter is just around the corner, I’ve decided to tackle my Avó’s Massa Sovada recipe! Massa is a traditional bread popular during holidays especially Easter. There is a festival in Portugal called the “Festas do Espírito Santo” which originally started in the 1300’s with Queen St. Isabel of Portugal who devoted her life to helping the poor. Queen of Portugal
In today’s Easter celebrations, in honour of the Queen, women participate in a procession wearing white dresses and carrying baskets of sweet bread and flowers on their heads to be blessed by the church. Festas do Espírito Santo
For Easter it is traditionally made with a hard boiled egg in the center, then made plain for the rest of the year. Check out this video…Massa Sovada
What you will need:
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup (lukewarm) water
1 cup of scaled milk, cooled
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
3 eggs, room temperature
1/2 cup butter, softened
5 cups all purpose flour
1 egg plus a pinch of salt (egg wash)
1 teaspoon of sugar
1) Grease with butter and flour (2) 9″ x 1.5″ pans, set aside.
2) Pour milk into a saucepan and scald, set aside to cool.
3) Dissolve the yeast into the lukewarm water, set aside.
4) In a large bowl pour the yeast, milk, 3 eggs, salt, sugar, softened butter, sugar and 3 cups of flour. Mix together until creates a smooth, sticky batter.
5) Slowly add the remaining 2 cups of flour until dough is formed – If the dough gets too dry add some melted butter.
6) On a lightly floured surface, knead the dough until smooth.
7) Place the dough into a greased bowl, cover with a towel and set in a warm place to rise. This should take about 1 1/2 hours or until it’s doubled in size.
8) Punch the dough and divide in half. Shape each half into round loaves and put into the greased/floured pans.
9) Cover with a towel and place in a warm room to rise for about 1 hour.
10) Preheat oven to 350°F
11) Create an egg wash (whisk one egg with a pinch of salt) and brush onto the loaves. Sprinkle tops with 1 teaspoon of sugar.
12) Bake the loaves for 35-40 minutes or until golden brown.
13) While still warm move onto wire rack to cool.
Feliz Páscoa / Happy Easter!