The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

BBA Portuguese Sweet Bread

Cara's picture

BBA Portuguese Sweet Bread

This is my first attempt at this bread.  I was so excited to finally get to try this.  The Lemon, Orange, and Vanilla Extracts added great flavor to the loaves.

Unfortunately, BBA said to add water to the final dough "as needed" and that the dough shouldn't be sticky or wet.  I really wasn't sure what it was supposed to actually feel like, but I guess that i didn't add enough water ro the dough.  Either that or I let the sponge sit too long because it didn't rise much even after sitting out for 3 hours. 

And regardless of what the books ays you can burn it.  I baked for 30 then rotated, then an aditional 20 minutes (BBA said bake 50-60) the thing is a dark brown color, but much too dark and we had to peel the crust off just to eat the thing.  The crumb tasted pretty good, but dry (ie not enough water).

I will definitely be trying this loaf again, it was a strange dough to work with since I haven't dealt with many enriched doughs.


Portuguese Sweet Bread

Portuguese sweet bread Crumb

gaaarp's picture

Cara, sorry you had such a time with the BBA sweet bread recipe.  Mark Sinclair posted his recipe a while back (see, and I believe everyone who has tried it agrees, it is awesome!  I made rolls and took them to work, and they have been requested again and again.  You can also make bread from this recipe.

Try it and see how it compares to the BBA recipe.

Cara's picture

Thank you.  I will have to give that a try.

I was emailing Eric yesterday while i was making the dough.  He said that if i liked the orange, vanilla, lemon in the loaf that i cuold always try it in Mark's recipe.

ehanner's picture


I suggest you buy an oven thermometer and check the real temperature. I think you might be running a little hot! It probably still tastes OK but those look a little scorched on the crust.


suave's picture

This recipe is known to be tricky.  I've seen more that one complaint about it not rising on schedule, and yes, sometimes it does come out on the dry side.  I keep telling myself that I need to go back and figure it out, but there's always something else to bake.

mcs's picture
mcs my recipe, I've done all of the burning, overproofing, underproofing, and taste testing for you!  And if you add those extracts that you like so much then you can rename it "Cara's Portuguese Sweet Bread".  Wow, a can't-miss-everybody-wins deal! 


Cara's picture

Thank you Mark I am going to test your recipe next week.  What kind of milk should i use, whole, 2%, 1%, skim?

mcs's picture

Since my wife insists that we buy 2% milk to drink, I also use it in our recipes.  I also use it in our sticky buns, puff pastry, and croissants, so I'm sure that reduced fat in the milk balances out all of the butter in the recipes.
As Hugo points out below, potato water is often used in PSB recipes, and I used to use it in this one also.  Out of sheer laziness, I deleted it a while ago, and instead replaced it with the PSB biga edition with better results.
Although the PSB can be shaped however you like (traditionally round), I either go with 3 oz rolls or 24 oz pan loaves.  They work really well in regular loaf pans and if you can set your oven to 350, they shouldn't get too dark before they're cooked.


Cara's picture

Sounds great!  I will let you know how it turns out. 

I will make a batch of the rolls and a pan loaf i think.  Hopefully the rolls will freeze well since I probaby will not be going through a lot of bread next week........

gaaarp's picture

Cara, I can attest that Mark's sweet rolls freeze beautifully.  I baked them for a carry-in at work and froze them for several weeks.  They were excellent.

Cara's picture

okay awesome.  Do i fully cook them, then freeze?

When I am ready to eat what do you do?  Thaw and heat at 350 for a few minutes?

gaaarp's picture

Bake them as normal, allow to cool completely, then freeze.  You can heat them after thawing if you want.  Unlike a sourdough, you aren't going for a crispy crust, so I would only heat them if you want to eat them warm, not to crisp them up.  350 for about 5-10 minutes sounds about right.

Cara's picture

YUM can't wait to try it!

jannrn's picture

I realize that this is an old post...but I am trying to find a recipe for Portuguese Sweet Bread and found this thread. Now the problem...I have never baked bread using grams before so is there a way to change this recipe to cup measures?? Also, How in the world do you WEIGH eggs?? I bit the bullet and bought a scale, but to be honest, I am petrified to try it!! I so hate to waste ingredients!! Thank you ahead for any help you can offer!!

I worked in Massachusetts 2 winters and became absolutely addicted to this bread!! Being in South Florida, I have had to make some adjustments to my bread anyway...but there is NO HOPE of finding this bread here so I really want to try to make my own!!


LindyD's picture

It's going to be accurate. In reality you'll waste more ingredients using volume measurements.  

As to the eggs, use your whisk on them.

Be brave - bite the bullet and try!  Once you discover how easy scalilng is and that wonderful tare function - not to mention how much less mess there is to clean up - you'll never look back!

Happy scaling!

mrfrost's picture

I started out weighing and it truly is so much easier, especially if the recipe gives the weights and/or baker's percentages. I sometimes have a heck of a time following recipes with volume measurements. There is often just too much of having to adjust the flour/liquid balance with volumes. Much less adjusting with given weights.

Weight of one large whole egg: 1.75 ounces.

weight of one large egg white: 1.25 ounces

weight of large egg yolk:          .50 ounce

King Arthur Master Ingredients Weight List. Print out and keep posted inside cabinet above your mixing area:

Convert for Windows- Useful(extremely) for converting grams to ounces or converting any kind of unit of measure to another system. (Many recipes are given in grams)

Convert for Windows:


raidar's picture

Thought this might be an ok place to say my attempts at the Portuguese Sweet Bread (via the BBA challenge) have been fantastic. I also used part of a loaf today for bread pudding, and it's fantastic!

caviar's picture

Your bread looks yummy in pieces, sorry you didn't have one of the loaf. I'm afraid my attempt echos others I've seen here. The loaf looks and tastes very good but didn't behave like the directions in BBA. It remained sticky and very loose even after 12 minutes of machine and then 20 minutes by hand. At this point I was able to sort of formn it into a ball with help of a bowl scraper and put it into an oiled bowl in my proofing box. I gave it the 60 and then 90 and then 120 minutes of fermenting and with hardly any movement. Then I decided to do a stretch and fold and found it had developed some strength so I put it back for some more fermentation. After another 30 minutes and the day moving along I dived it and put the two on pie plates. After a prolonged proofing the loaves were still about an inch from the side of the plates not at the edge and slightly overlapping. Anyway I gave them an egg wash and baked them. The rest worked out as directed with nice color and crumb with maybe a crust a little thick but the size of the loaves were decidedly small. I haveno idea why they turned out the way they did.

I have had some some suspicion that the instant yeast I just recently got from KAF was not not that active, if that's possible, but that wouldnt accounmt for it. Should there be additional yeast added to the final dough?