Bread - the Symbol of Hope, Home and Hospitality

It's about time that I share my Portuguese Bread Recipe. Making bread in my family goes back generations. I still remember when I was little growing up in Portugal, my parents went every Sunday to my grandparents country house and my mom and grandmother used a huge V shaped clay container to knead bread dough, one women on each side until the dough was ready to rise Then they baked it in a huge oven and mom would take home 7 breads and grandmother kept 7 breads. When we got home we froze all but one. Along the week, we defrosted one each day since that was what the family ate. That tradition was repeated every year as long as I remember.

I love making this for our family and will bake a few times a month and freeze some so that we will have bread with every meal, it also makes a great gift. My daughter loved bringing home made Portuguese bread to school for her birthday every year or if there was something to celebrate. It's nice to bake a few loaves at the time, use one and freeze or give away the rest. There is a Portuguese saying that goes like this: A Portuguese home always has bread ready for every meal or is not a Portuguese home! I never had a recipe to share, I always baked that by sight, but now I finally do and I am delighted to share with you all. (if the dough is too sticky to the hands add a bit of flour, if the flour is not attached in one big ball, then add a bit of water); 

Here it goes:

Total Time: 5-10 minutes to mix all the ingredients, then rise until double about 1 hour and bake for about one hour.

Makes 2 loaves (about 12 slices each) if you bake in in pans or one larger loaf like in the picture (my preferred way).

Ingredients:

1 Package (1/4 ounce) active dry yeast

2 cups warm water (110 to 115 F)

2 teaspoons of salt

5-1/2 cups of bread flour if you don't have it then all purpose flour works too.

Mix it all together with your hands until the dough is soft and all connected.

Place it on a floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour. I put a blanket around it to keep it warm. Since I now own a crock pot, I  put everything in there but make sure the pot is just a bit warm (like luke warm) and it rises beautifully! 

After about one hour, tun oven on to 350 degrees and turn dough onto a floured surface and divide in half. Shape each portion into a loaf with flour in my hands. Place each loaf seam side down on a greased baking sheet (optional), or pan and with the back of a knife make a few indentations on each loaf. Cover and let rise until the oven reaches 350  then cook for about 60-70 minutes.  Bake  until golden brown. I use a kabob skewer to see if it's cooked. When you insert it, if nothing sticks to it when you pull it out then it's cooked. Remove from pans and let it cool. Or if just one bread remove from flat cooking sheet and let it cool.

PS: If making pizza dough then put one tablespoon of sugar and one tablespoon of olive oil when you mix everything inside dough. 

When I make pizza, (add 2 cups of pizza sauce, mozzarella cheese and pepperoni on top). I make the same recipe (add the sugar and olive oil) split the dough and make two pizzas or one pizza and one bread, just bake 400 degrees and take out after 20-25 minutes. 

Enjoy,

Bread also makes a great gift.

 xoxo

Ceci Mason

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(fun fact, I was a baker when I was single in Portugal)

Bread gift

Bread poem

Happy cooking and Baking!!😄

April 02, 2020 — Ceci Mason

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