from Tracey G.
With this week’s category for our Food Friday is Bread. After my making of the Irish Soda Bread mix, I’ve been wanting to make sweet breads. I looked at all kinds of Soda Bread-style breads, but figured I’d better branch out a little as I just did that kind of thing! So, as I was perusing the recipes at King Arthur Flour, I ran across this recipe for Portuguese Sweet Bread and was immediately intrigued!
They do mention it’s a close cousin to the rolls most of us know as Hawaiian Rolls/Bread – that did it for me, I decided right there and then I was making this recipe this week!
It called for a couple ingredients that piqued my interest – lemon zest and vanilla. Maybe not the ingredients themselves, but the combination of the two. The other ingredients in addition to the lemon zest and vanilla include: yeast, flour, butter, eggs (2 eggs + 1 egg yolk, reserving the white), sugar, salt and milk.
It was very easy to put together, which is always a plus in my book. I heated the milk, butter, salt and sugar in the microwave in a 2-cup glass measure (or you can do it in a small saucepan on the stove), then added it to my flour/instant yeast/lemon zest mixture. Then add the eggs + egg yolk and vanilla. If you’re using a stand mixer, they suggest beating it for about 3 minutes with the paddle attachment, as it’s a sticky dough and then switching over to your dough hook for about 5 minutes.
Now comes the first rise, shaped into a ball in a greased bowl. It’s about 1 1/2 – 2 hours to get it to the “very puffy” they call for, I think mine actually took a bit longer, as sweet doughs tend to be slower risers. KAF recommends using the SAF Gold Instant Yeast, which is specially formulated for a sweet dough, but I only have the regular SAF Red Instant Yeast, so that’s what I used. I may have to order myself some of the SAF Gold Instant Yeast though, to see how much of a difference it does make, as I am enjoying working with sweet doughs! (And both of those are available for purchase on their website – I am in total love with the SAF Red Instant Yeast, works great and is really cost-effective for me!)
After you get past the first rise, you deflate it, shape again into a ball and place in a greased 9-inch cake pan. I didn’t have a 9-inch pan, so I used an 8-inch, and it worked just fine, just might look a little different and not as seamless as round loaf – but it didn’t affect the taste one bit! 😉 Once it’s gone through the 2nd rise,(another 1 1/2 to 2 hours), it’s ready to bake. Before you pop it into the oven, you brush it with the reserved egg white from that extra egg yolk that goes into the dough. In your 425°F, it gets baked for 15 minutes and then you tent it with foil to continue baking approximately another 20-25 minutes until it’s a lovely medium golden brown.
After it comes out you let it cool completely on a rack before slicing. Here’s where I had to just use my own judgment as it doesn’t say to let it sit in the pan for any specified amount of time before turning it out. So, I flipped it out right after I took it out of the oven, and realized I didn’t grease my pan enough and I had a little bit of sticking, but it wasn’t any big deal at all, just an annoyance, lol.
I am happy to report that this is a bread I will make again – oh my gosh it’s so good! It just takes a small bit of planning due to the longer rise times. After I took it’s photograph, I asked Jeremy if he’d like to try a piece of it, and so we did. And continued to taste test our way through almost 3/4 of the loaf! We discovered it’s good plain, toasted with butter and with a jam. I’m so glad I got a decent shot of it because I don’t think I had anything left to work with when we were done with quality control! I can’t think of any better of a review than that it didn’t even make it through a day before it was almost devoured completely! Definitely one for the win column!!
from Kris B.
It’s been a rough week at my house, so baking bread was more therapeutic than it was anything else. I really wanted to make (and eat) a sweet bread this week, but I resisted that urge because I know that I would have eaten way more if it than I should have had I gone that route. I settled on King Arthur Flour’s Italian Easter Cheese Bread, a nice flavorful savory bread.
I’m not exactly sure what makes this an Easter bread. Maybe it is that this loaf has three rise periods??? That right there is why we are posting on Saturday instead of Friday. Lol! Normally I try to bake the weekly recipe early in the week, but this week that didn’t happe; I was baking on Friday. Several weeks ago, when I first chose this recipe, I failed to read all the way through the instructions. In my defense, the ingredients list and the first couple of instructions all seemed like a normal bread recipe and process so I figured it would be no big deal. That was all true until I got to the instruction that called for a third rise time of two hours (or more) depending on your kitchen temperature. The first two rises were an hour each. When all was said and done, it was too late in the day for me to take photos so I had to wait until this morning. As if posting late was not punishment enough for not reading all the words in the instructions the first time through, I also did not get to eat the bread hot out of the oven either!
This bread is time consuming to make only because of the required four hours for rises, but the dough itself comes together easily. In addition to “normal” bread ingredients, the Italian Easter Cheese Bread calls for three eggs plus one yolk, pepper, and your choice of Italian cheese – parmesan, romano, asiago, or a combination.
The recipe warns that the dough will be very sticky and that you will need to stop and scrape the sides of your mixing bowl several times during the ten minute kneading process. My dough was not sticky at all. I’m not sure why. I’m 99% sure that I followed the instructions correctly, but human error is always a possibility. In the end I had a nice light flavorful loaf so all was well.
This bread can be baked in a round soufflé pan, or braided and cooked in a standard loaf pan. I chose to bake a round loaf in a soufflé pan. When it was done, it resembled a large cupcake. 🙂
When I finally got to eat a piece of the bread, I topped it with a bit of butter. Delicious! Though the bread itself is light and airy, the taste is quite rich. The cheese and the pepper make for a flavorful combination. This evening, my daughter used the bread to make a grilled cheese sandwich, a little redundant I know, and she said that was a perfect use for the Italian Easter Cheese Bread. Based on her recommebdtion, I may have to try that too!
Whether you make this to serve with your Easter meal or for sandwiches, you will not be disappointed with this recipe!