When I was much younger, I remember getting sweet bread three times per year. My grandmother and aunt would make large batches at Easter, Christmas and Mardi Gras, before the start of lent and our requisite fasting. By large batches, I mean 10 loaves at a time to eat on the big feast days and send to other family members. It has a lot of eggs and butter, making it similar to panettone but not as sweet. It's got a nice kick from the spices and it is a great snack at all times of the day. Most of all, you can make this any time of year, not just on holidays. It's too good to relegate to just those days.
This recipe is pretty difficult to do without a stand mixer. The batter will be sticky and loose, almost like cake batter. I've scaled down the recipe to make only 2 loaves, which seems like a much more reasonable amount for any regular occasion.
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Azores Sweet Bread
Ingredients (2 loaves)
- 1 ⅔ lbs AP flour
- 1 pack dry yeast
- 10 eggs
- 2 sticks butter, melted
- 1 cup sugar
- ⅓ cup powdered sugar
- 2 tsp lemon extract
- ½ tsp cinnamon
- ½ tsp nutmeg
- Dissolve yeast with 1 tsp sugar and 3 Tbsp of warm water for 10 minutes until frothy.
- Whisk together egg, sugar, spices and lemon. Slowly add melted butter
- Add yeast and flour. Mix and knead for 15 minutes.
- Cover with plastic wrap and blankets and let rise for 4 hours.
- Divide dough into greased loaf pans and let rise for 4 more hours. Make sure not to fill the pans more than halfway, to allow enough space to proof and finish in the oven.
- Bake at 300 for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 285 and continue baking another 25 minutes or until a tester is clean.