Portuguese Easter Bread Recipe
This Portuguese Easter Bread recipe makes 2 beautiful loaves; one for you and one for the neighbors. This also makes the most phenomenal french toast.
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 22 minutes
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $6
Course: Side Dish
- 1 and 1/2 Cups very warm milk
- 1 cup white sugar + 1 tsp sugar
- 1/2 cup 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast, 1 and 1/2 Tbsp
- 3 eggs, well beaten
- 6 1/2 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tsp water
- 3/4 cup to 1 cup white or brown raisins + 2 cups boiling water
1 – Place 1 cup white or brown raisins in a bowl with 2 cups boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain well and set the raisins aside.
2 – Pour 1/2 cup warm milk (heated 30 seconds in micro) into a large measuring cup. Add 1 tsp sugar and sprinkle yeast over the top. Stir and let it stand to proof until bubbly and doubled in volume, about 10 minutes.
3 – Combine 1 Cup of very warm milk (1 minute in micro), with the 1 Cup sugar, softened butter, and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl. Stir until most of the butter is melted.
4 – Stir in 3 well-beaten eggs, then yeast mixture into the butter mixture.
5 – Using the dough hook attachment (or a wooden spoon if mixing by hand), Beat in 6 1/2 cups flour, one cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Knead for 8-12 minutes or until smooth and elastic. The dough will still be a little sticky and will stick to the bowl, but should not stick to your fingers. If kneading by hand, turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead for 8-12 minutes (using only enough flour necessary to prevent sticking to your hands).
6 – Stir in the raisins until evenly distributed.
7 – Transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl, turning it to bring the buttered side up. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place, away from draft, for about 1 and 1/2 hours or until double in volume. (I set my oven to low, then turned it off and let the dough sit in a warm oven; about 100 degrees F).
8 – Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half. Divide one half into four equal pieces and form about 15″ strips with each quarter.
9 – Pinch the four strips together on one end and let the braiding begin!
Cross the far right strip over its neighbor.
10 – Tuck the far left strip under its neighbor and over the next strip. Repeat steps until you finish the braid, then pinch together the other end.
11 – Place each braid in a buttered baking dish (the would have expanded even better if I had used a large baking pan). Cover loosely with a towel and let them sit for 30 minutes.
12 – After the braids have been sitting for 30 minutes, now pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
13 – Beat together 1 egg and 1 tsp water. Generously brush the top and sides of the bread with the egg mix just before baking.
14 – Bake each loaf separately for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown.