Portuguese Sweet Rolls


My first experience with binge eating (disclaimer: no eating disorder, just poor self control) came at the tender young age of 10.  My mom would pick my brother and I up from Tae Kwon Do practice and take us to a small Portuguese bakery to replenish any calories we may have inadvertently lost in the course of pretending to kick things for an hour.  We sampled many of their offerings, but the one item we always made sure to get was a loaf of Portuguese sweet bread.  It sweet, lemony, bright yellow, and delicious.  As much as I would try to limit myself to two (very large) slices, I always ended up sneaking out to the kitchen in the middle of the night and scarfing down about half the loaf.  This weekend, I found myself in a bingey sort of mood, so I decided to track down the delicious bread of my youth.

Portuguese Sweet Bread adapted from Jo Cooks (makes 24 rolls)

3.5 cups AP flour
0.5 tsp salt
1 package or 2.25 tsp active dry yeast
75 ml warm milk
2 tbsp brown sugar
.75 cup sweetened condensed milk
3 eggs
4 tbsp butter
zest of half a lemon or lime


1. Combine the flour with the zest (I had a decaying lime on hand and used that) and the salt.

2. Throw the yeast in with the warm milk and brown sugar.  Yeasties loove sugar.  In 5-10 minutes the mixture should get frothy.


3.  Beat the eggs and combine with the condensed milk and yeast mixture.


4.  Pour the wet ingredients into your stand mixer and add in the dry ingredients a little bit at a time, then mix for about 10 minutes.  It will be very sticky and won’t come together very well.  This is apparently okay, but I ended up taking the blob out of the mixture to knead by hand for a while.  This is also when you want to add the butter but I may or may not have forgotten to put it in mine (I definitely forgot).


5.  When the dough is done, it will not look or feel done.  I stopped kneading when I was able to clean the bits that stuck to the counter by rolling the dough on top of them.

6.  Let rise in a warm place for about an hour.


7.  To shape it, I rolled the dough out flat and then cut it into 24 pieces.  I then rolled up each of the pieces into a ball.


8.  Place in a greased pan with plastic wrap loosely over the top to rise for another hour.


9.  Bake in a 350 degree oven for 25 minutes, or until the tops are pretty brown.



The buns were definitely drier than they should have been, possibly because of the exclusion of butter.  As far as taste goes, they were quite sweet (always a win) and definitely had the hint of lemon that I remember from my childhood.  The texture may not have been spot on, but the flavor was pretty close to what I was looking for.

And, I single-handedly demolished about a third of the pan right away.  Bingey mood satisfied.


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