Portuguese sweet bread
Loaves of folar de Chaves baking in a forno
TypeBread; pastry
Place of originPortugal
Main ingredientsFlour, milk, sugar, eggs, yeast, salt, butter or olive oil
Ingredients generally usedCinnamon, lemon zest, port
VariationsPão doce, arrufadas, folares, massa sovada, bolos, fogaça, regueifa
Similar dishesEaster bread, challah, Hawaiian rolls/bread, vada pav

Portuguese sweet bread refers to an enriched sweet bread or yeasted cake originating from Portugal.[1][2][a] Historically, these sweet breads were generally reserved for festive occasions such as Easter or Pentecost and were typically given as gifts.[6] However, in contemporary times, many varieties are made and consumed year round.[7] Outside of Portugal, Portuguese "sweet bread" transliterated as "pão doce" is often associated with Azorean "massa sovada" which are similar but traditionally prepared differently.[8][9]

History

See also: Pão de Ló

The pão doce is of Spanish origin derived from a Renaissance era sponge cake known as pão-de-ló. In French cuisine, it would later be known as génoise, after the city of Genoa, and in Italy pan di spagna (lit.'Spanish bread'). The Portuguese would further develop this cake into what is now known today as pão doce.[10]

Many traditional Portuguese sweet breads are defined by the associated region or by the convents, artisan bakers or religious confraternities (similar to a guild) that historically made them. Since many have deep historical and cultural significance to the area which they originate from, these breads are as well as other foods and ingredients are inventoried by the Portuguese governmental office Directorate-General for Agriculture and Rural Development (DGARD), which collaborates with a collective of independent confraternities known as the Portuguese Federation of Gastronomic Confraternities (FPCG) throughout Portugal.[11][12]

Pão doce evolved as a yeasted cake variation of the Pão de Ló, a type of sponge cake that relies on beaten eggs.

There are currently ninety-three confraternities that specializes in various gastronomies varying from specific dishes or ingredients to a particular region of Portugal.[13][14] As an example, the Confraria Gastronómica As Sainhas de Vagos was given the responsibility of defining pão doce from Vagos,[9] while the similar pão doce das-24-horas from the same region is defined by the "Directorate-General for Regional Development" (DGRD),[15] while massa sovada from the Azores is defined by the Federação Portuguesa das Confrarias Gastronómicas.[16]

Variations

Scoring the bolo de Ançã in the middle of baking
Members of several confraternities meeting during a festival in Santa Maria da Feira dressed in their distinct cloaks and headwear.
A bread oven in Algarve
Regueifa dance, brides with a loaf of bread on their heads.

Outside of Portugal

Portuguese sweet breads are common in areas with a large Portuguese diaspora population, such as New England, northern New Jersey, southern Florida, California, Ontario, and Toronto. They are also found in other former colonies including Brazil, Macau, India, Angola, Cape Verde, Guinea-Bissau, Mozambique, São Tomé and Príncipe, and the island of Timor.[69][70]

Bolos lêvedos are popular in the Cape Cod area with a large Portuguese population, including Rhode Island where they are sometimes known as "Portuguese muffins" or "pops".[60][71] They are eaten for breakfast with butter and jam or used for sandwiches.[72]

Massa sovada was brought to Hawaii by Portuguese immigrants from the Azores in the late 1800s and has since been adapted into Hawaiian cuisine.[73] It was frequently called "stone bread" because of its habit of turning hard as a rock within one day of baking. Robert Taira of King's Hawaiian tweaked the recipe to manufacture a mass-produced shelf-stable product known as "Hawaiian rolls".[74]

Gallery

See also

References

Notes

  1. ^ Enriched breads and yeasted cakes are typically soft, sweet, yeasty, breadlike containing higher amounts of sugar, fats such as butter and oil (including eggs and milk), or flavorings such as cinnamon and lemon. Whereas lean breads only contain flour, salt, water and yeast and are hard and crusty.[3][4][5] Instead of yeast, cakes like Pão-de-ló rely on egg whites to "lighten" the cake batter, while American pancakes require baking soda (or powder).

Citation

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