Thursday, March 28, 2013

Portuguese Sweet Bread & Malasadas

It's 6:00 AM and I'm awake (barely) - proofing dough, brewing coffee, and setting up a make-shift deep fryer; barefoot, clad in my sleepshirt, and rocking some serious bedhead...aaannd a dried glob of Proactive Refinig Mask (invincible pimple)  - square in the middle of my forehead.  THAT'S how badly I want to have Sweet Bread for Easter!  You feel me?

My Mom's family is Portuguese; we always had sweet bread for Easter breakfast, always. The malasadas?  Well, those were just an added bonus.

I searched high and low, lurking on-line for months trying to find THE perfect recipe for a soft, pillowy sweet bread - just like the fresh baked loaves from the Portuguese Bakeries.  I've never made this myself before, I've never had to, it was readily available throughout New England.  There are a few Portuguese bakeries in Edmonton, but none close I decided to make it myself...half asleep, with bedhead and pimple cream.  Yeah, that's how I roll!

I found Bea's recipe just yesterday on - there is also a video of her making a ginormous vat of this dough.  I halved her original recipe and it still made 1 large loaf, 1 small loaf, and 7 malasadas.

I started mixing the dough Tuesday afternoon, it raised until 6 AM the following morning.  I didn't have to let it go that long, but it was either get up at 6AM or stay up until 3AM....what's a few extra hours?

I made the malasadas two ways...the donut-style (3" rounds with granulated sugar) and the doughboy-style (flatter 6" rounds with Powdered sugar).  I like to mix it up, ya know what I mean?  While I was frying these, the loaves were just done proofing, so in the oven they went.
For the large loaf, I used my Pampered Chef pie plate; for the smaller loaf, I used a 6" mini pizza pan.  Both pans provided a nice dome shape, which is what I am accustom to.  

This dough was amazing...all it wanted to do was rise.  I've never worked with a sweet enriched dough before - it was a bit sticky, but not unmanageable.  

Overall, I was happy with the results.  My bread was a bit more dense that of the bakery bread, but just as sweet and delicious.  The malasadas were out of this world!  I prefer the thinner doughboy-style...the thicker ones gave me a little trouble - I had to finish them in the oven, as they were still raw in the middle.  I finished them off at 350 degrees for ten minutes, on a baking rack set inside a rimmed baking sheet.  

So, if I can't be with my Portuuugeeeeees & family this Easter, I can at least feast on sweet bread while skyping them!  

Bom apetite...

Portuguese Sweet Bread & Malasadas
recipe adapted from Bea Viera via,
makes 2 large loaves, or 1 large loaf and about 16 malasadas 

2 1/2 pounds (about 8 cups) of bread flour, plus additional for work surface
2 cups of sugar
1/2 tsp salt
7 eggs (about 1 1/3 cups), beaten
1 TBS vanilla extract
1 1/2 tsp pure lemon extract
1 1/2 tsp pure orange extract
1 stick butter, melted plus additional for greasing 
1 1/2 cups milk
2 pkgs instant yeast (3 3/4 tsp)
1/2 lukewarm water
1 egg beaten with splash of water (for egg wash on bread)
16oz frying oil (if making malasadas)
2 TBS of sugar (for dusting malasadas)

For The Dough:

Heat butter and milk in a medium saucepan over low-medium heat until butter is dissolved and milk is just scalded - set aside to cool.  

In a small bowl, sprinkle the yeast into lukewarm water, stir to dissolve and let sponge for 5-8 minutes.  

Using the bowl for your stand mixer (must be 4 quarts or larger!), add the flour, sugar and salt, stir to combine.  Make a well in the center and set aside.  

In a separate medium-sized bowl, beat eggs, add vanilla, lemon and orange extracts, stir to combine.  

Add egg mixture, cooled milk mixture, and yeast into the center of the flour mix - stir by hand with a large wooden spoon until just combined, scraping the sides and the bottom to ensure there is no unmixed flour.  

Affix bowl onto your stand mixer and knead with a dough hook - on the lowest speed for 1 minute, then on the next highest speed for 3-4 minutes.  If kneading by hand, do so for about 10 minutes, until dough is airy and has elasticity - dough will be very sticky.  

Add dough into a 12 quart, or larger, buttered bowl - it will triple in size when rising.  Cover with several dish towels and let rise in a warm spot for 6 hours.  Punch down and let rise again for another 6- 8 hours.  Punch down and let rest 10 minutes.

Turn dough onto a floured surface, divide dough into desired portions (half for bread and half for malasadas, for example).  Knead dough for a few minutes to release the air pockets.

If Making Sweet Bread:

Grease a large loaf and/or a large 10" pie pan.  Shape dough, set into prepared pan(s) - cover and let rise until doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hours.  Gently brush with egg wash.  Bake at 350 degrees for 35 minutes, rotating pan halfway through.  Remove from oven and spread a few tsp of butter on the surface for a nice shiny finish (optional).  Cool in pan on a wired rack for 5-10 minutes, then remove from pan to finish cooling.  

If Making Malasadas:

Press and shape dough into 3-4" rounds.  Depending on how thick you make them, half of the dough recipe above should yield about 16 malasadas.  Cover the shaped malasadas with a kitchen towel and let rise for about 30 minutes.  

When the dough is ready, heat 2" frying oil in a high sided, medium sized pan.  When oil reaches 350 degrees, drop dough into hot oil, fry 20-30 seconds on each side until golden brown**.  Drain on paper towels - each side for a few seconds, the cool on a wired rack.  

**my malasadas were well browned on the outside, but still raw and doughy in the center.  If this is an issue, finish the malasadas in the oven on a baking rack-set inside a rimmed baking sheet.  Bake at 350 degrees for 8-10 minutes, or until hollow sounding when tapped underneath - or the toothpick method lends a non-doughy residue when extracted.**

Cool slightly (about 5-10 minutes) on a wired rack.

Add a few TBS of sugar into a brown paper bag, shake warm malasadas in sugar to coat. Best if eaten when still warm.

I have shared this recipe on:
The Humble Brag, One Project Closer
Foodie Friday, Simple living and Eating
Mix It Up Monday, Flour Me With Love
Mop It Up Monday, I Should Be Mopping The Foor
Two Cup Tuesday, Pint Sized Baker
Tuesday Talent Show, Chef in Training
Cast Party Wednesday, Lady Behind the Curtain
What's Cooking Wednedsay, Buns In My Oven
Fluster Muster Party, Fluster Buster
Wicked Good Wednesdays, I Love My Disorganized Life & 365Days Of Baking
Thursday's Treasures, Chocolate, Chocolate & More


  1. You really gotta want it to start frying at 6:00! And after looking at the picture, I want it too!

    1. Yeah, it was one of those things that sounded better the day before....sure, I'll get up at the crack of dawn and finish everything. 14 cups of coffee + 1 sugarhigh later ='s crash and nap on the couch (with dog).

  2. I've never made malasadas before, but these all look good. And how brilliant to think of using the pampered chef pie plate! I'll have to give that a try. Thanks for bringing this by Foodie Friday

  3. I used to live in the Azores, and have been looking for this for years! Thank you so much, I can't wait to try it!!!

  4. Just wanted you to know that your recipe is being featured on Foodie Friday. Stop by and get your featured button. I will be pining and tweeting your recipe this week too. Thank you again for being part of the party.

  5. I grew up eating Malasadas. This is amazing. PINNED!!! Thanks for sharing at Two Cup Tuesday at Pint Sized Baker. I hope you join me on Monday night.

  6. I've never had Malasadas before, but it looks addicting! Thanks for sharing at Wicked Good Wednesdays!

  7. These sound down right amazing! The dough looks incredible. I would love to try them. Thanks for sharing on Thursdays Treasures.

  8. I can't wait to try this, Kim!! I love making homemade bread!

  9. Oh, I am sure you made everyone in your family proud to see these beautiful Portuguese breads that you made. I know they would wish they were eating them with you.
    They look soooo good.
    Blessings for a beautiful Easter. Catherine xo



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