The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Condensed milk

Maverick's picture

Condensed milk

I was thinking of making Bernard Clayton's Portuguese Sweet bread and it calls for condensed milk. I assume this is sweetened condensed milk, but his comment about the use of condensed milk has me wondering if this was unsweetened (evaporated milk). Given this was the 1970's, I think it is sweetened but since the recipe is adapted from a recipe brought from someone's great-grandmother to the Hawaiian islands, I can't be sure. Here is his comment:

The loaf is made with condensed rather than whole fresh milk because the latter was scarce on islands given over wholly to fields of cane, not to pasture. It adds its own unique flavor to the loaf but fresh milk can be substituted, of course, and not diluted with water.

So on the one hand he says it has a unique flavor but on the other hand he doesn't say to add more sugar if using fresh milk. I was wondering your take on this. Like I said, I am assuming it is sweetened since that is usually what condensed milk means rather than evaporated milk.

Portuguese Sweet Bread 
From: Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads 


5 1/2 to 6 cups bread or all-purpose flour, approximately
2 packages dry yeast 
1/2 cup granulated sugar 
2 teaspoons salt 
1/2 cup condensed milk, diluted with 1/2 cup water (120-130F)
1/8 teaspoon vanilla extract 
1 teaspoon lemon juice 
3 eggs, room temperature, plus 1 egg, beaten
1/4 cup currants or raisins, plus 12 more for garnish
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter, room temperature
2 tablespoons granulated sugar or coarsely granulated decorating sugar

Thanshin's picture

I've never heard of evaporated milk called "condensed evaporated milk".

I've never heard of non-sweet condensed milk.

However, once you speak of "dulce de leche" (literally "milk sweet"), which usually is simply caramelized condensed milk, can mean other things in different Spanish speaking countries.


And now I want to make a dulce de leche bread.

Maverick's picture

Yeah, I guess I am overthinking it. I have seen "unsweetened condensed milk" in some old recipes but I think those were Canadian. Looking at the history of condensed milk, it would make sense that it was sweetened even back in the late 1800s as a preservative.

Jon OBrien's picture
Jon OBrien

...would easily be enough sugar to sweeten a loaf. That's a lot of sugar. Adding half a cup of sweetened condensed milk would make it unbearably sweet, I think.

That fresh milk can be substituted without adding extra sugar must be the clincher.

pmccool's picture

no to sweetened condensed milk.  As Jon points out, there is adequate sugar in the recipe without using the sweetened condensed milk.  PSB is typically faintly sweet, not cloyingly so.

PSB makes great hamburger buns, too, if you leave it unadorned.


dabrownman's picture

he has 2 recipes for Portuguese Sweet Bread.- neither use sweetened condensed milk but both use 1 cup of milk and 1 cup of sugar.  This is a sweet enriched bread much sweeter than panettonewich would use about 3/4 C of sugar.

After checking some other recipes 1 c milk and 1 c sugar is pretty standard for the old original recipes invented once milk became pasteurized and safe to drink and the old sweetened condensed milk recipes were converted to milk and sugar.

Clayton's 1/2 C of sweetened condensed milk mixed with 1/2 C of  water with 1/2 cup of sugar sounds spot on with his recipes for 1 C milk and 1 C water so I would not change it.and use the sweetened condensed milk as specified.



Maverick's picture

Good to see someone with the first edition as this helps a lot.

Thank you all for the help. Since this is really more of a Hawaiian version of the Portuguese Bread, I can see why it might be sweeter than other versions. I will give it a try soon.