Indulge in Homemade Portuguese Sweet Bread with this Recipe

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A Taste of Home: Sweet Portuguese Bread Recipe

Gosh! I remember growing up and going over to my friend’s home and smelling freshly baked Portuguese Sweet Bread. It had me drooling wanting to taste that sweet and fluffy bread. It sure is a favorite of mine whenever I came back to home to Hawaii for a visit!

But, let me tell you that this recipe came from my stepmom which came from a Portuguese Aunty from Aiea. Whew! Gotta always show the connections huh? 

This recipe is incredibly easy to make, so you don’t have to be an expert baker to whip up a batch. So why, wait? Get ready to indulge in a taste of homemade Portuguese Sweet Bread!

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The Perfect Homemade Treat: Easy Sweet Bread Recipe

The original recipe made choke bread. About 6-7 pans carrying 6-8 rolls each! So, I cut it down by half because I just wanted to enjoy a couple of pans and share it with some of my friends and neighbors. Aunty’s secret ingredient was the lemon extract, who knew huh?!

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To make an onolicious Sweet Portuguese Bread, you will need the following ingredients:

  1. Active dry yeast: Used to help the bread dough rise and become fluffy.
  2. Evaporated warm milk: Classic Hawaii ingredient, warm evaporated milk helps activate the yeast and create a moist dough.
  3. Granulated sugar: Adds sweetness to the bread.
  4. Unsalted butter: Adds a rich, buttery flavor and tenderizes the bread.
  5. Salt: Balances out the sweetness of the bread and enhances the flavor.
  6. Eggs: Provide structure and flavor to the bread.
  7. All-purpose flour: The main ingredient in the bread dough and gives the bread its fluffy texture.
  8. Lemon extract: gives a nice tangy lemon flavor to the bread.

Optional ingredients for variations include raisins, cinnamon, and lemon zest, which can add a touch of extra sweetness and flavor to the bread. I’ve seen a few families add these variations!

Rise to the Occasion: Kneading and Preparing Dough

Making Sweet Portuguese Bread requires proper technique and attention to detail, especially when it comes to preparing the dough. Here are some step-by-step instructions for making the dough and some tips on how to knead it properly:

kneading dough
  1. Activate the yeast by mixing it with warm milk and a tablespoon of sugar, and let it sit for 5 minutes until it becomes frothy. This step is crucial as it helps the bread dough to rise and become fluffy.
  2. In a stand-up mixer bowl, cream together sugar and butter, then add evaporated milk, water, salt, eggs, and lemon extract. Mix together until well combined.
  3. Add the yeast mixture to the bowl and mix together. Gradually add in the flour, mixing until the dough begins to come off the sides. It is important to add the flour gradually to ensure that the dough has the right consistency.
  4. Transfer the dough to a clean working station. Lightly dust it with flour and hand knead the dough for 10-15 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. If it becomes sticky, dust on more flour. Kneading is an essential part of the bread-making process as it develops the gluten and creates a fluffy texture. To knead the dough properly, use the heels of your hands to push the dough away from you and then fold it back towards you. Repeat this motion for several minutes until the dough becomes smooth and elastic.
  5. Place the dough in a greased bowl and let it rise for 1-2 hours. The rising process is important as it allows the yeast to activate and expand the dough.

By following these steps and tips, you’ll be on your way to making delicious Sweet Portuguese Bread. Just remember to be patient, as allowing the dough to rise properly is key to achieving the perfect texture and flavor.

Golden Brown Goodness: Baking and Serving Tips

To shape the dough, divide it into two loaves and then divide each loaf into seven or eight balls. Lightly grease a nine-inch round pie pan and line it with the divided dough. Cover and let it rise again for another hour in a warm area. After the second rise, preheat the oven to 350 degrees and uncover the dough. Let it bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes.

cutting dough

To know when the bread is done, tap the bottom of the bread with your finger, and if it sounds hollow, it is fully baked. Alternatively, you can use a thermometer to check the internal temperature of the bread. It should read between 190-200 degrees Fahrenheit. Make sure to let the bread cool down for a few minutes before slicing it. This will prevent the bread from becoming too dense and will make it easier to slice.

Sweet Twists: Variations to Make Your Own

There are endless variations you can make to the Portuguese Sweet Bread recipe to suit your personal preferences. I’ve seen some variations that add raisins, cinnamon, and lemon zest. Experiment and let me know what you have done. I’d love to hear about it in the comments or my messages.

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Give this onolicious recipe a try! If you did give it a try, please leave a comment with a star rating below. Mahalo!

Video Tutorial

Check out this video to help you gain more insight on how to make Portuguese Sweet Bread. Also, subscribe to my YouTube to help support me so I can continue making more of these contents. Mahalo!

Portuguese Sweet Bread

Sweet Portuguese Bread is a delightful treat that many islanders in Hawaii enjoy to eat. This Sweet Portuguese Bread is so easy and delicious that it makes it the perfect treat to bring to a friend or neighbor.
Print Recipe
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Prep Time:2 hours 25 minutes
Cook Time:20 minutes


  • 3/4 cup evaporated milk
  • 3/4 cup water
  • 4 tbsp unsalted butter
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/2 tbsp yeast
  • 4 eggs
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1 tbsp lemon extract
  • 6-8 cups flour


  • In a small bowl, mix the warm water and yeast. Stir briefly and let sit for 5 minutes to activate the yeast.
  • In a stand-up mixer bowl, add in the evaporated milk, water, softened butter, eggs, sugar, salt, lemon extract, and yeast mixture. Mix to combine.
  • Set the stand-up mixer to stir and slowly add in the flour. Keep adding flour until the dough begins to come off the sides.
  • Transfer the dough to a clean working station. Lightly dust it with flour and hand knead the dough for 5 minutes. If it becomes sticky, dust on more flour. The dough should feel soft and bouncy.
  • In a large bowl, lightly grease it and add in the dough. Cover it and let it rise in a warm area for 1 hour.
  • Punch down the dough and divide it into two loaves. Divide each loaf into 7 or 8 balls
  • Lightly grease a 9-inch round pie pan and line it with the divided dough. Cover and let it rise again for another hour in a warm area.
  • Preheat the oven to 350°F (180°C). Uncover the dough and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes. Enjoy your onolicious freshly baked Portuguese Sweet Bread!
Servings: 16 rolls

One Comment

  1. To clarify, the divided dough should be put in two separate 9″ pans? Then are they baked at the same time or separately?

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