Monday, August 16, 2010

Bread Baking Babes are sweet: Pão Doce / Massa Sovada

Hostess this month is Tanna, who reigns in our Kitchen of the Month and dictated that we should bake a Portuguese sweet bread named Pao Doce, Massa Sovada.
We didn’t mind. We were ready to be dictated that way (shows how sweet we really are, truly sweet dispositions all of us Babes…. (hmm spellchecker wants met to switch that to distortions which is probably more like it anyway).

Back to things on hand. The bread, the recipe, the baking. Kids asking for more, husbands roaming the pantry to search for slivers of bread.
So I’d say if you have some time on your hands, a working oven… bake it! Be a Buddy, let Tanna know you made it either by email or in the comments and get one of those fancy Buddy Badges. 

This one requires an over night SPONGE (which is not difficult at all but something you whip up the night before baking!)

- 72 grams bread flour
- 2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast 
- 114 milliliters potato water, or whey or water (potato water or whey really make it extra tender & soft)

Mix together the sponge the night before baking the bread. Leave sitting at room temp 8 to 12 hours

- 6 tablespoons butter, room temp.
- 30 to100 grams brown sugar (I held the middle ground and used around 70 gr)
- lemon zest
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 3 large eggs, room temp.
- 120 milliliters milk, room temp.
- 460 grams bread flour (you can use either all bread flour or mix in some whole wheat, also see notes at the bottom of the page)

Beat sugar and butter until creamy.
Add zest and salt and beat.
Beat in each egg separately and completely; mix will appear curdled.
Stir in milk and sponge.
Stir in 2 1/2 cups flour and beat vigorously (in a stand mixer it would clear the sides of the bowl, by hand lifting the spoon up should stretch the dough about a foot.)
Add remaining flour to make stiff*  dough. Knead 5 minutes or more to incorporate all the flour. (* Don’t worry if your dough doesn’t get real stiff because the  recipe goes on to say this:)

Final dough should be smooth, soft and very supple with a slight stickiness. Looks a little like brioche dough.
Shape into ball, oil bowl and dough ball.
Cover and allow to rise about 2 hours, should almost or triple in size.
Divide into loaves, shaped into balls.
Allow to rest 20 to 30 minutes before final shaping with rolling pin*(see notes below). IMG_3080


For best demarcation of indents be careful to dust dough ball well with flour.

Shape and place into well oiled cake pans seam side down.
Allow to rise an hour to 2 hours; more than double in size.

Brush with egg wash if you want that beautiful glossy finish.
Bake 350°
50 minutes as two loaves
35 minutes as four loaves

Tanna’s took less, I’m still getting acquainted with my new oven so keep an eye out for done-ness.

Brush with melted butter when hot from the oven. If you're really a sweetie, I suppose you might then dust this with sugar.


*Now this shaping proved to be tricky, because Tanna showed us a lovely method where you “divide” the dough ball into eight parts by pressing a thinnish rolling pin onto the dough. In my case it was like pressing an air mattress because the dents I was pressing in would fill again as I was pressing the next dent.

Maybe because I had not allowed for enough rest time before attempting to final shaping or maybe because this dough was so eager to rise -> Although I floured and even slashed ánd floured the demarcations (instead of pressed) the second dougball  both loaves had so much ovenspring that I was left with two round boules instead of the lovely star-shaped loaves I intended.

* I had to add about 1 cup of flour to get a smooth supple brioche like dough.

*Recipe is a combination of
- Michel Suas: Advanced Bread & Pastry: a professional approach : page 237
- Greg Patent: A Baker's Odyssey: Celebrating Time-Honored Recipes From America's Rich Immigrant Heritage : p 221

This recipe is a very nice one and certainly one to remember and bake again, my kids thought it was cake (I cleverly served them pointy slices like you would serve cake) and came back for more and more. One loaf disappeared in under 30 minutes!

Personally I loved spreading some paté on it, combination of savoury and sweet is great! It also makes excellent toast, imagine this and a full english breakfast for dinner! Or… some butter and preserves… Yum!

Will update with pics a.s.a.humanly p. (meaning that I wait until my dying batteries for the camera are fully loaded, yes I’m that retro)


Please remember that the BBBabes’ anniversary is coming up in February. We’d like~you to pick the Anniversary Bread recipe for February 2011. You have until November to think about it.

  • What’s your favorite bread?
  • What bread haven’t you ever been able to get to turn out the way you want?
  • What bread scares you the most?
  • What’s the bread recipe you’ve baked the most?
  • What bread do you dream about baking?
  • What bread do you…?

Scour your bread-baking cookbooks, recipe boxes and bread-baking sites to make your choice. We’ll ask you to submit your desired recipe in November. And in December, after we’ve narrowed the list down to a manageable number of choices, we’ll ask you to vote on one for us to bake and post for our anniversary in February.



  1. I have baked this many times and there have been several occasions I couldn't get the indents to stay...then you have REAL traditional Sweet Portuguese Bread!
    Very glad the boys thought it was cake! hehe.

  2. mine disappeared too within minutes tho it was huge!
    I am with you that the dough was so eager to rise that the lovely shaping nearly vanished... a bit was left on mine tho.

    I think this is one of my favorite BBB breads tho I love most of them.

  3. We loved it here too, the first part of the recipe even reminded me of baking cake! Was this your first bread in your new oven? Getting used to it a little?

  4. I actually used the handle of a wooden spoon to make my indentations but I think you need something a bit thicker.

  5. I love the mental picture of your family roaming the kitchen like a rabid bunch of dogs looking for scraps of the Sweet Portuguese Bread.

    Of course, I understand completely as I've several times this morning crossed into the kitchen to stick my nose in the bread box where my left over rolls are to smell the wonderful breads and pinch a little off (hmmm...wonder if that is why I'm not hungry for lunch!)

  6. Gone in 30 minutes! That is testament to truly great bread.
    So glad your family loved it too. ☺

  7. Love it that they thought it was cake.... Well done!

  8. I love your pictures, nice shots!

    Sorry couldn't help myself. But yes, this was a lovely bread!

  9. Hey! Just who are you calling distorted? ;-D

    I couldn't get over how fabulous this bread smells when it's baking! Ours isn't all gone yet (there's only two of us) but we're making short work of it.

  10. Yes, first time out it was gone almost before I could take photos ...the "boys" went through the second batch, first loaf pretty quickly, too. A winner! I'm pretending the photos are there and gorgeous.

  11. that's quick work of a loaf of bread!

  12. Sounds tasty, even if yours was far more active than it had any right being. :)

  13. We want pictures, as I'm sure they were gorgeous, dents or not!

  14. Hello,

    We bumped into your blog and we really liked it - great recipes YUM YUM.
    We would like to add it to the

    We would be delighted if you could add your blog to Petitchef so that our users can, as us,
    enjoy your recipes.

    Petitchef is a french based Cooking recipes Portal. Several hundred Blogs are already members
    and benefit from their exposure on

    To add your site to the Petitchef family you can use or just go to and click on "Add your site"

    Best regards,



Thanks for visiting! I really appreciate and enjoy reading all your comments! If you have any questions feel free to email me.