When Mike asked me what this week’s bread was, he misheard my response as “Four Cheese Bread.” I wish! I am looking for a good cheese bread recipe. But after he tasted this, he was glad I made it. He thinks this is one of the best breads of the challenge so far.
I am pretty sure I have never had Portuguese Sweet Bread before, but I was willing to give it a shot. This is one of the rare BBA breads that can be made all in one day. You start with a sponge, and you wait until it gets nice and bubbly.
Like so. Then you put arrange all of your other ingredients. Seeing as how this is a sweet, enriched dough, there are a lot of other ingredients: sugar, powdered milk, shortening, eggs, butter, and three different kinds of extracts. Then you add in your sponge and flour, and mix it all together.
PR says this dough will take longer than usual to knead because of all the extra ingredients. I kneaded it for the proper length of time in the mixer, but when I took its temperature at the end of the kneading, it was lower than it should have been. Instead of kneading more, though, I took it out and set it aside to rise, which may be why it took FOREVER.
It was supposed to double after two hours or so, but that did not happen. I let it go three hours, and still only had this much rise-osity:
Not good. But I couldn’t let it go any more, since I had to get it baked before we went out on Saturday night. So I divided it into two little boules and put them in my Pyrex pie pans. After Thanksgiving, I have approximately 3,962 of these.
They did a little better on the second rise, but still didn’t get anywhere near “filling the pans fully” or “overlapping the edges.”
I washed them with the egg wash, which pooled around the bottom of the boules and turned into a crispy lace after they were baked.
I baked them for 50 minutes, but had no problem getting the right internal temperature. The crust got very dark, but it was relatively thin.
You can see where the egg wash hit and where it missed.
Now, when the bread came out of the oven, both Mike and Rob were in the kitchen. It was almost time to go out for dinner, and we were all starving. After sitting in the house filled with the sweet aroma of baking bread – complete with vanilla, orange, and lemon notes – there was not a lot of sympathy for my suggestion that we let the bread cool for 90 minutes before slicing it. The argument, “But Peter Reinhart says so,” did not exactly cut it.
So, yeah. I think this poor loaf might have lasted twenty to thirty minutes cooling before it was unceremoniously sliced into.
I liked this bread, too, but it wasn’t one of my super favorites. It reminded me a lot of the Artos. It had a nice flavor, but I think sweet, enriched breads just aren’t my thing. As I said, though, Mike loved it. It didn’t seem to stay soft for very long, but that might just have been because we sliced the loaf without letting it cool all the way. The crumb was already feeling a little stale to me just a few hours later. I haven’t done it yet, but I can see that the suggestion to make it into French toast is a good one.
I think this one gets four stars, but I am combining my opinion and Mike’s to lift it up that high. Without his rave review, I would probably give it 3.5 stars.