Portuguese Sweet Bread [AKA: Hawaiian Bread]

Let your bread machine do the work for you with this quick and easy Portuguese Sweet Bread Loaves also known as Hawaiian Bread.

a close up shot of Portuguese sweet bread on a cutting board with a butter tray.

This Portuguese Sweet Bread is very similar to Hawaiian Bread and can easily be substituted into those recipes. While not all Azores Sweet Bread recipes call for milk, this one does as this is how the Portuguese portion of my family fashion their loaves.  

If you prefer to use water it may easily be substituted for milk.

a photo of Portuguese sweet bread whole loaf and a sliced loaf on a cutting board. In the front is a plate of sliced bread.
 
This sweet bread was always popular where I grew up especially around Easter. It can sometimes contain dyed eggs in a long braided loaf or cross especially around Easter. For that, I always called it Easter Egg bread.  
I used my Oster Bread Machine for this dough. I just pop all the ingredients in the mixer on the dough cycle and let it do its thing until the buzzer goes off that the dough cycle is complete. But if you’re a purist, it can be kneaded by hand and left to rise in an oiled bowl in a warm place.
A close up of sliced Portugues bread

PRO KITCHEN TIP: The dough will be very sticky at first but will tighten up as the flour has more time to absorb the water during the rise time.

A wet dough also makes it easier for the yeast to rise and double in size over a drier dough so resist the urge to add more flour if the dough seems too sticky heading into the first rise.

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Portuguese Sweet Bread CLose up 680px

Portuguese Sweet Bread

Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming
This Portuguese Sweet Bread is very similar to Hawaiian Bread and can easily be substituted into those recipes. While not all Azores Sweet Bread recipes call for milk, this one does as this is how the Portuguese portion of my family fashion their loaves.
4.88 from 8 votes
Prep Time 4 hrs
Cook Time 20 mins
Total Time 4 hrs 20 mins
Course bread
Cuisine Portuguese
Servings 16 servings
Calories 155 kcal

Ingredients
  

  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 4 tablespoons butter , cut into pats
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 1/4 teaspoons salt
  • 3 1/4 cups All-Purpose Flour
  • 1 tablespoon instant yeast
  • 1 medium lemon zested
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 large egg yolk , white reserved
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla extract

Instructions
 

  • Combine the milk, butter, sugar, and salt in a microwave-safe cup, or in a saucepan. Heat to lukewarm. Set aside.
  • In a mixing bowl, the bowl of your stand mixer, or the bucket of your bread machine, combine the flour, yeast, and stir to combine.
  • Add the milk mixture, stirring first to make sure the sugar and salt aren't left in the bottom of the cup or pan. Add the lemon peel, if using.
  • Add the eggs, plus one yolk, and the vanilla. Mix and knead until the dough is smooth; it'll be very sticky at first. If you're using a stand mixer, beat with the flat beater for about 3 minutes at medium-high speed; then scrape the dough into the center of the bowl, switch to the dough hook, and knead for about 5 minutes at medium speed. It will have formed a ball somewhat, but will probably still be sticking to the bottom of the bowl. If you're using a bread machine, simply let it go through its entire cycle, and skip to step 6.
  • Lightly grease the mixing bowl, gather the dough into a ball, and place it in the bowl. Cover, and let rise, about 1 1/2 to 2 hours. It will more than double in size. If you're using a bread machine and the dough hasn't doubled in size when the cycle is complete, simply let it rest in the machine for another 30 to 60 minutes.
  • Lightly grease two 8 x 4" loaf pans.
  • Gently deflate the dough, and divide it in half. Shape the dough into two loaves and place into the prepared pans. Cover the dough gently with lightly greased plastic wrap or tented foil.
  • Let the dough rise in the pans for about 2 hours, until it's again nice and puffy. Toward the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F.
  • Mix the reserved egg white with 1 tablespoon cold water, and brush some onto the surface of the loaf; this will give it a satiny, brown crust.
  • Bake the bread for 15 - 20 minutes, until it's a medium golden brown and its internal temperature registers 190°F on a digital thermometer.
  • Remove the bread from the oven, and gently transfer it to a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing. Store at room temperature. You may also freeze the loaves for freshness for about 30 days.

Notes

The dough will be very sticky at first but will tighten up as the flour has more time to absorb the water. Wet dough also makes it easier for the yeast to rise and double in size over a drier dough so resist the urge to add more flour if the dough seems too sticky heading into the first rise. Also, if you prefer not to use milk, it may easily be substituted for water.

Nutrition

Serving: 1slice (1/16 of the two loaves)Calories: 155kcalCarbohydrates: 25gProtein: 4gFat: 4gSaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 43mgSodium: 220mgPotassium: 58mgFiber: 1gSugar: 5gVitamin A: 149IUVitamin C: 4mgVitamin D: 1µgVitamin E: 1mgVitamin K: 1µgCalcium: 20mgFolate: 58µgIron: 1mgZinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

18 thoughts on “Portuguese Sweet Bread [AKA: Hawaiian Bread]”

    • Hi Vicki,
      If you chose to add pineapple juice, you would either have to adjust the flour ratio or the liquid ratio to account for the added pineapple juice. Since I have never used pineapple juice, I cannot say if this would change the texture of any due to the acidity of the added juice. To add a hint of citrus flavor, we used lemon peel in this recipe.

      Reply
  1. Just wondering if this recipe can be baked right in the bread machine instead of removing it to bake in the oven?
    Also, my bread machine instructions state to add ingredients to bucket as liquid first, then dry, then add yeast last. Would this affect how it mixes and comes together since this recipe states different? Thank you!

    Reply
    • Hi Sabrina,
      I believe that it can. I like to take it out and make the traditional loaves, but I believe inside the machine would work, too on the light setting so it doesn’t get too crusty.

      Reply
  2. This was so ONO! Made it today for my family and the first thing my daughter said, without me telling her what it was was “Oh my gosh, this taste like the Hawaiian sweet bread you can buy in Hawaii!” WINNAH!!!! And so easy since I used my Oster for the dough. Definitely making again and again!

    Reply
  3. Sounds delicious although I have not attempted to make it yet. I’m not.an expert bread maker but prefer the Portuguese sweet bread with a hint of nutmeg along with the lemon flavor. Thinking of adding 1/4 tsp nutmeg. Ani’s Bakery sweet bread comes to mind.
    .

    Reply
  4. Hi Rhonda, thank you for this wonderful recipe. I’m a relocated Hawaiian girl and I’ve tried several different recipes and I’m always left with “this is close… but NO” this recipe is the best so far and I make it for my family at least once a month. Today is at least the 10th time I’ve made it and it never fails. Again, thank you!!

    Reply
  5. Portuguese bread,, the Portuguese brought
    the bread to Hawaii, Hawaiians did not make bread until it was introduced to Hawaii by Portugese immigrants,,and the ukelele is not indigenous to Hawaiii either, it was also brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants,!

    Reply
    • Hi Linda Correia,
      I never claimed that Hawaiians were the original creators of sweet bread. If you’d read the article, you’d see that I called it Portuguese Sweet Bread – even in the Pinterest description. While you and I know this bread as Portuguese Sweet Bread, the mainstream population looking for this recipe searched for Hawaiian bread or Sweet Bread. This is why I have referred to it as both Portuguese and Hawaiian in the title. I have to please the search engines with these significant keywords for readers like you to find my recipes. Have a great day

      Reply
  6. I grew up eating Portuguese sweet bread, too, and with the Portuguese influence in Hawaii, you know it’s the same bread if not similar. They also do malasadas in Hawaii too which comes from the Azore islands.

    Reply

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