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Small Sweet Bread

This second recipe is for Old-fashioned Portuguese Sweet Bread. The Portuguese came to Hawaii to work in the sugar cane fields, and brought music and wonderful foods with them. When I was a child, this was every local kid's favorite toast! It is hard to come by today, and the commercial varieties are just not right. I was given the recipe by Mrs. Alice Peters up in Laupahoehoe on the Hamakua Coast. Alice is a wonderful lady in her 90's, who used to bake the bread for groups doing fundraisers. When I told her our guests were asking for her recipe, she replied, "Share it! Give it to everyone!"

3 loaves
Received from Alice Peters in 2002, via Ann deConte Buck, as edited by Barbara

Mix in largest bowl, make well in center:

9 cups (2lbs. 8 1/2 oz.) bread flour
1 cup (8 oz.) butter, softened (Alice used 1/2 butter, 1/2 Imperial margarine)
2 cups (14 1/4 oz.) sugar
a little salt (optional)

Mix, let rise a few minutes:

2 Tablespoons sugar
3 Tablespoons yeast
1 cup warm water

Then: Beat 6 eggs into foamy yeast mix

Mix into liquids:

2 cups warm milk (may use canned milk, thinned with water)

Add yeast mixture to flour mixture, pouring into well. Stir thoroughly with wooden spoon. Add 2 cups or more bread flour (sifted), stir well. Knead for several minutes to make it elastic.

Cover, let rise until doubled (1 hour?), punch down and divide into 3 greased loaf pans. Preheat oven to 325 degrees Fahrenheit.

Bake 50 minutes, 325 degrees F. Remove from oven, cool a minute or two before dropping loaves out of pans onto racks. Let cool on their sides.

Alice brushed her loaves with evaporated milk before baking, and lined round cake pans with banana leaves, placing the ball of dough on top. There seem to be two factions among Portuguese Sweet Bread lovers--those who like the pure, unadulterated bread (above), and those who like it 'doctored up' with raisins or flavorings.

The secret ingredients of one Shipman House B&B guest’s mom, who always won the blue ribbon at her county fair on the Mainland, were a little lemon peel added to the dry ingredients, and ½ teaspoon anise extract added to the liquids. Alice feels these have no business being in her recipe, and she's quite adamant about it.