The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Portuguese Bread recipe search

beccad18's picture

Portuguese Bread recipe search

Hi there,

I'm hoping someone can help me find a recipe for a bread I know as Porguguese Bread.  I've serched for it and I'll I've found is recipes for Portuguese Sweet Bread. 

The bread I had was white bread that had a hard bottom with a chewy crust and was usually a free form loaf.  The bread itself was similar in texture and moisture to rye bread.  I had it in northern New Jersey, but I was just discussing it with my roommate who also ate it in Philidelphia. 

Does anyone know what I'm describing and can maybe point me in a direction of a recipe?  Maybe this bread has another name?

Thanks a lot for any help!


audra36274's picture

a video. I know you are wanting BREAD, but the roll recipe I mentioned is the same just reshaped. You'll see. He hooked me up a year or so ago for my father in law who used to be stationed in Rhode Island back in his Navy days. He loves it. Just type it in the search box above left.


p.s. Mark has lots of other cool videos too. His bakery is opened now so you will just have to search out his recipes through here, his website doesn't offer them anymore.'s picture


If you where in New Jersey, and ate bread in Newark or any other surround town you have not eaten any Portuguese bread chances are that you ate Brazilian made  bread; and since the Brazilian colony has established them self’s in New Jersey, MA and FL.

My first question did the bread had a soft crust like the regular bread you buy in the supermarket but with a pale color on it? Was the crumb full body? If the answer is yes you ate Pao sovado witch is a typical Brazilian country bread, made in brick oven  see how's made ( with no steam, very soft semi sweet and very tasty.

You can make it at home and here is the recipe:

1450g Flour

30g Salt

150g Sugar

200g Lard, (butter or margarine)

100g Fresh yeast or 70g dry yeast

7 Yolks

500g Milk

All the ingredients in a mixer (do not let the salt touch the yeast put the salt in one side and the yeast in a another side, or whip at the second stage) first speed for 5 minutes.

Second for another 10 minutes until you get a very smooth dough. Divide the dough in 300g , put them into baking forms and let it rise in a warm place for 90 min. Bake at 180 C for 20'. spray water on top or steam for 10 sec.



nbicomputers's picture

was it shaped like a small football and did it have flour or bread crumbs on the top?

beccad18's picture

It's been awhile since I had it, but in my memory it was a oblong, so I supppose like a football, but there were no breadcrumbs, and I don't think any flour.

Also I remember the bread being very airy on the inside sometimes with big holes in it.

I really don't think it's the same as the sweet bread.  This wasn't sweet.  We used it for sandwiches and toast.

Paddyscake's picture

Is this what you are thinking of? It tastes very much like a hard roll/Italian bread. I'm sure it is a basic flour/water/yeast/salt dough and that the shaping makes it unique. Very common in southern New England.




Preta's picture

Hi Becca,

The recipes you are looking for are either Portuguese Cornbread or Broa.  It is made with a white fine cornmeal.  When it is baking the baker is spraying water into the oven or they have a bowl of ice cubes to create steam and give that crusty, chewy crust.


It is the best bread.  You may have to try a few recipes to get the right one, but you will find it.  Try this website, I haven't used the recipe but it sounds good.

The first site describes the spraying.  Hope you enjoy!!


S.A.'s picture

Hi--I've been looking for the same thing with no luck.  I got the recipe in Philadelphia in the mid-90s and made it for years...and then lost it.  It is NOT corn bread.  The ingredients include unbleached white flour, kosher salt, water, and active dry yeast, maybe some semolina flour for dusting the baking tray/platform but that's it.  No eggs, sugar, etc., but you do spray the interior of the oven.  It's very simple and produces an easy to make perfect bread with a minimum of ingredients...and I can't remember the proportions.  Will post them when I find more...

Good luck!

beccad18's picture

Yes!  That's the kind of bread I'm thinking of. 

Preta's picture


Sorry for reccomending the  Portuguese cornbread, but the description was a crusty exterior and a moist dense interior like rye.  Well that is cornbread.  Portuguese cornbread is not like American cornbread.  It is white, moist and dense with a thick crusty exterior.

If it is not that we also make buns and other loafs of white bread that are light and airy usually with pockest of air on the inside.  These are called Papo Seco, I cannot find a recipe on line except for in Portuguese.  I translated it but I didn't think it would be beneficial to copy it here.  This is the post if you want to try it:

You could also invest in a cookbook that might have the recipe...Portuguese Homestyle Cooking by Ana Ortins might have the recipe.  I'm not positive.

Good luck.

bakermomof4's picture

I think what you might be talking about are the Papo Secos they are a Portuguese roll that are very popular in the Portuguese bakeries (at least in California they are), also when we spent a summer in Terceira, Azores, Portugal we had them delivered fresh at our door every morning!

You can try these links -

I also have Ana Patuleia Ortins book - Portuguese Homestyle Cooking that has the recipe -


Wild-Yeast's picture

I believe what you're looking for is called Portuguese Water Bread around the San Francisco Bay Area.  Sweet bread is what most people associate with Portuguese bread.

The following is a recipe that matches what you have described.  It's a simple bread that goes by the name, "Portuguese Farm Bread":


P.S. I've seen this bread made using plastic bin boxes.  It's stetch-folded every 45 minutes three consecutive times (very wet dough is where the "water bread" part comes from).  Wonder if this is where the no-knead bread came from?

hazel's picture

I found this website after seeking a recipe to make water bread.  I was from Winnipeg, Manitoba, (home of Winnipeg Rye Bread yum!) where I had the pleasure of tasting many culturally diverse authentic foods!  One of which was water bread from a little Portuguese bakery.  I would serve it with Boullibaise.

I decided to make some no-knead bread yesterday, as mentioned by Wild Yeast above, as it looked similar to Water Bread...The chef called it "City Bread" and it turned out great and did its song when I took it out of the oven...a nice surprise!  It was easy peasy!   You bake it in a covered pot for partial baking time to control the oven moisture.  It was a nice round rustic looking loaf with a crusty and chewy texture.  I posted the link and hope the owner of "The Fresh Loaf" site does not mind.

What an amazing site you have!  I have learned so much from reading your blogs, as well!  I am now in British Columbia on Vancouver Island and will pay attention to your humidity advisements for baking.  Cheers :-)



LA's picture

Hi there,

I just wanted to let you know that I am also from Winnipeg but now living in Florida. I am sure we visited the same little bakery - Lisbon Bakery on Sargent.  I have been craving the chewy bread for ages! I do recall being able to eat a loaf of the water bread by myself - especially warm.  I found the receipe you cited (have to search as the link doesn't work) and can't wait to try it!  Thanks.

hilsbatty's picture

Crusty on the outside, with holes inside, not sweet - almost moist and elastic inside. I used to live in the Algarve and it's sold everywhere there- I can't work out what it's called though! Papos Secos (literally 'dried stomachs'!) are something entirely different - small bread rolls which also can be bought everywhere in Portugal.

I think there might be something in the water idea. It's finding the right recipe though - have you had any joy Becca?


S.A.'s picture

Hi--With the help of the fine folks at the Cookbook Stall at Reading Terminal Market in Philadelphia I think I've finally found the Portuguese bread recipe we've been looking for.  A very similar recipe appears in a 2005 book called Flavors of Portugal by Tania Gomes (pp. 66-68, San Diego, CA: Thunder Bay Press).  It calls for the following:

4.5  cups all purpose flour

2 tsp dry yeast

pinch of salt

1/5 cups of water, or more if necessary.

In short, mix the dry ingredients together, form a well in the center and add the water slowly "until it forms a dough". Mix and knead well (but it doesn't say for how long) until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.  Form into a ball and leave it to prove until it has doubled in size.  Then shape it the way you want, put it on a baking sheet and bake it in a preheated oven at 400F until it becomes golden.  That's it.  I think I remember a second rise in my original recipe but this doesn't call for one and the pictures look just like what I made.

This Day's picture
This Day

I know this can't mean 1/5 of one cup of water.  Please explain.  Thank you.

pmccool's picture

Perhaps 1.5 cups of water?  The . and the / are right next to each other on my keyboard.  The poster may have made a typographical error.


hilsbatty's picture

S.A. did this recipe work?


S.A.'s picture


Sorry--Yes, that was a typographical error.  Here are the ingredients again:


4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour

2 tsp dry yeast

Pinch of salt (more or less to taste)

1 1/2 cups water, or more if necessary

The directions are as stated above in my original post.  I have not, however, tried it out yet.  Let me know how it goes if someone else gives it a shot--


Skyler's picture

My grandmother from Nantucket made all sorts of Portuguese food.  You could also buy Portuguese bread from the corner grocery if she didn't have a fresh loaf out of the oven herself.

Her recipe, as recorded by my father is:

2 cups warm water

1 tsp salt

1 tablespoon shortening

1 yeast cake

2 tablespoons of sugar

6 cups of flour

I have to tell you that I've only tried to make this myself once and it was less than successful, mainly because I don't know how to cook.  Vavoa rarely measured any ingredient so this is offered more for an ingredient list than for exact quantities.

The other purpose of this bread dough is to make fried dough, which I'm about to try for the first time.  You take small pieces of the dough, stretch it somewhat thin into oblong patties, and then deep fry it in oil.  Turn over when brown, then pull it out and sprinkle it liberally with sugar.  It's like a New Orleans beignet (sp?) except use regular sugar instead of powdered sugar.  My favorite and I'm looking forward to teaching my daughter to love it as much as I do.  If I can get it to work, that is.  I'm a terrible cook.

DL1's picture

I too have been searching for this bread for some time.  I live in Rhode Island and remember it years ago when i was a kid.  I think I may have found it.  Cinderella Bakery in Fall River MA makes it. 508-673-7732.

Tiyo711's picture
"Is there anything better than bread still hot?"




  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup unsifted semolina (durum) flour
  • 1 cup very warm water (110° to 115°F)
  • 3 cups sifted unbleached all-purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt



1. Combine the yeast, semolina flour, and water by churning 10 seconds in a large heavy-duty food processor fitted with the metal chopping blade. Scrape down the sides of the work bowl, re-cover, and let stand until foamy, about 15 minutes.

2. With the machine running, add half the all-purpose flour down the feed tube. It's easier if you pour the flour from a spouted measuring cup into a wide-mouth canning funnel inserted in the feed tube or failing that, a stiff piece of paper rolled into a cone (the opening at the bottom should be at least 1 inch across).

3. Using a plastic spatula, scrape the work bowl, and if necessary, redistribute the dough so that it evenly surrounds the blade — take care! Add the salt and remaining flour, distributing evenly over the dough, and churn for 10 seconds. Again scrape the work bowl and redistribute the dough.

4. Churn the dough for 20 seconds nonstop, shut the machine off, and let the dough rest in the sealed work bowl for 5 minutes. Now churn for another 20 seconds.

5. Leaving the blade in place, carefully redistribute the dough until it's of uniform thinness. Re-cover the work bowl, keeping the pusher in. Note the level of the dough in bulk, estimate what it should be when doubled in bulk, and mark that level on the side of the work bowl.

6. Let the dough rise in the sealed work bowl until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour. Meanwhile, lightly coat an 8-inch springform pan or 8-inch pie pan with nonstick cooking spray and set aside.

7. When the dough has fully doubled, pulse quickly 4 to 5 times to punch down, then churn for 20 seconds nonstop. Let the dough rest in the sealed work bowl for 5 minutes, then churn for another 20 seconds. The dough will roll into a ball and leave the sides of the work bowl reasonably clean.

8. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface, shape into a ball, then roll in the flour to dust lightly. Place the loaf in the prepared pan, cover with a clean, dry dish towel, and set in a warm, dry spot until nearly doubled in bulk — this will take about 30 minutes.

9. When the dough has risen for 10 minutes, position one rack in the middle of the oven and slide a second rack in the slot just below. Place a large shallow baking pan on the lower rack — I use a 15 1/2 X 10 1/2 X 1-inch jelly roll pan — and half-fill with water. Preheat the over to 500°F.

10. Center the risen loaf on the middle rack and bake for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 400°F and continue baking until richly browned and hollow sounding when thumped, 20 to 25 minutes longer.

11. Remove the bread from the pan as soon as it comes from the oven, set right-side-up on a wire rack, and cool to room temperature before cutting.

From:'s picture

The recipe is a very old one, that I make here in Brazil in a Portuguese bakery,

2,500kg Flour

1,500kg water

50g of Kosher salt

1,500 of  biga ( fermented dough for 12hrs, 100g Flour (100%), 70g water (70%), 3g yeast (3%), 4g sugar(4%))

the fermented dough is added at the end of the second whipping (12 minutes) stage on second speed. Salt is added at the end of the second stage.

If you wish to add olive oil add 5% add olive oil at the second whipping stage so you don't seal the flour at the biggining, and reduce water at 5%.

Since we bake at a wood brick oven I don't know how long it takes to bake in a regular deck oven.

Robdt's picture

It sounds like you're referring to popsic rolls.

Panforcooking's picture

But i hope this helps SOMEBODY!   ithink you're   looking for saloio bread! At least thats what its called at the local grocery store here..i got it once because my husband is portuguese and we were hooked! Theres a recipe on interest i want to try asap and will update when i do!