Portuguese Sweet Bread

Serves 12

  • ¼ cup mashed potato flakes
  • ⅔ cup boiling water
  • ⅔ cup sugar
  • ¼ cup nonfat dry milk powder
  • ½ cup butter
  • 2 envelopes dry yeast
  • ⅓ cup warm water
  • 4 ½ cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 large eggs
  • 1 tsp salt
  • ½ tsp vanilla
  • ¼ tsp lemon extract
  • 1 large egg, beaten

In a small pan, beat instant potatoes into the boiling water. Stir in the sugar, dry milk and butter. Let cool to 110°F.

Meanwhile, in the large bowl of an electric mixer, dissolve yeast in the warm water (110°F). Blend in cooled potato mixture. Add 2 cups of the flour and beat to blend. Stir in the eggs, salt, vanilla, and lemon flavoring until smoothly blended. Then beat in another 1 ½ cups flour.

With a heavy mixer or by hand, mix in more flour to make a stiff dough, 1 to 1 ½ cups. Turn dough out onto a floured board, and knead 5 to 20 minutes until smooth and satiny, adding more flour as needed. Turn dough over in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.

Punch dough down and knead briefly on a lightly floured board to release air. Let rest 10 minutes. Shape in one of the following ways:

Coiled loaves: Divide dough in half. Roll each piece into a 30-inch-long rope. For each loaf, coil one rope into a greased 9- inch pie pan, starting at the outside of the edge of pan and ending in the center. Twist rope slightly as you lay it in the pan. Makes 2 loaves.

Coiled buns: Divide dough into 12 equal-size pieces. Roll each into a 12-inch-long rope. On greased baking sheets, coil and twist each rope as described for coiled loaves to make 2 ½ to 3-inch buns. Space buns at least 2 inches apart. Makes 1 dozen big rolls (can make 18 smaller rolls with less dough each).

Braided loaves. Divide dough into 6 equal portions and roll each into a 14-inch-long rope. For each loaf, arrange 3 ropes side by side on a greased baking sheet and loosely braid. Pinch both ends together and turn under loaf. Makes 2 loaves.

Cover loaves or buns lightly and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled, 35–45 minutes for loaves, 20–30 minutes for buns. Brush with beaten egg; sprinkle with granulated sugar if desired. Bake at 350°F until browned, 25–30 minutes for loaves, 20–25 minutes for buns. Cool on racks. Serve warm or cooled.

Per serving: 316 calories, 10g fat, 8g protein, 49g carbohydrate, 2g fiber, 290mg sodium.

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