Friday, September 5, 2008

Portguese Sweet Bread

This is an oft-made bread, requested by the little boys a couple of days ago. Portguese Sweet Bread is just what its name implies: neither too heavy nor light, somewhat sweet bread. It goes well with poultry and pork, makes a great jam sandwich, and superb French Toast. What more could anyone ask of a bread? Doesn't that make you want to try it now?


1-1/3 cups warm milk
6 tsp yeast*
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups flour
3 eggs
3 tbsp butter
1 tsp salt

Soften the yeast in the milk, stir in the sugar and half the flour. Add the eggs and melted butter, and stir in the rest of the flour and the salt. Knead for about 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic, and form it into two loaves. Let it rise until doubled in size, then bake at 350 for 24 to 26 minutes. (Or just let your stand mixer or bread machine do all the mixing for you, after adding the ingredients in the order I've listed here.) Note that if you have more than about 1-1/4 hours to make this bread, the yeast can be cut to 3 tsp. The crust is very dark because of the eggs and butter, but very thin and soft. This bread will keep about 3 days, again, because of the eggs and butter. I put a slice on top of the loaves, so you can see the beautiful texture and

When I make this bread, I think back to Isabelle in 3rd grade. She moved here from Portugal very early in the school year, although not at the very beginning. Our teacher assigned me to be her "buddy" and help her learn her way around the school, and start learning English, because our birthday was on the same day. Isabelle was beautiful, with gorgeous bright golden curls and a winning smile. We moved away after 4th grade, and I never saw Isabelle again. Until I was 17, at least, when I was shopping for wedding attendant dresses for a high school friend with a group of friends. We walked into a tiny bridal shop on Main Street, and the beautiful girl in the shop looked at me and exclaimed, "I know you! You're Marjie!" Ummmm..."We have the same birthday!" Yes, it was Isabelle. I was tickled that she recognized me, having not seen me for 8 years.

So, I saw an article in the paper this morning, stating that Oregon wants to limit ESL education to 2 years. And I remembered beautiful Isabelle, with no ESL, doing just great in school, and learning the English language just by following along in the classroom, in that first year. Then, I remembered that a boy named Uwe moved in from Germany in 4th grade, and, again, he learned English within that year. (There was someone with his first and last name on one of the news stations a couple of years back, who appeared to be about my age. I wonder if that immigrant boy is now on TV?). And both of these kids cause me to wonder if we aren't harming immigrant children by putting them into ESL classes, instead of mainstreaming them. Oh, well, politicians and schools don't want my opinion, and don't care for my anecdotal evidence anyway. Isabelle, wherever you are, it was great to be your friend in 3rd and 4th grade, and this bread still makes me think fondly of you, 4 decades later.


Prudy said...

I can't tell you how glad I am that you posted this recipe. I looked really hard for a port. bread recipe about 10 years ago and gave up and forgot about it till now. We always eat port. bread on nantucket island and they make the best sandwiches with turkey, cranberry mayo and stuffing. Can't wait to make thsi bread. Huge thanks.

Prudy said...

What a great story about your friend Isabelle. How charming that she recognized you after eight years.

The Blonde Duck said...

That's a really good point about ESL. It's really interesting. How cute is it that she recongized you!

I love the bread recipe and will probaly make it tonight! Your bread always looks fabulous!

Pam said...

Great post. The sweet bread sounds so good - you are such a gread bread baker. Nice story about Isabelle.

Paula said...

What a great story about Isabelle, and a special glimpse into your youth! I doubt that this bread has ever lasted, or should I say existed, for 3 days in your household, and on those rare occasions I've made bread, the family snarfs it down as soon as it's sliced! In addition to being a great baker, you are a great story teller.

I'm curious about the ESL situation. This state is a huge melting pot of cultures and languages. I have a friend who teaches 1st grade ESL and another friend who teaches English to parents; I'll have to ask them for more insight!

Weeksie50 said...

What a lovely story about your friend.

That bread looks yummy.

noble pig said...

How sweet and the bread too! Do you have a bread baking class I could attend?

Pam said...

I love portguese sweet bread! This reminds me that I haven't made it in awhile.

In our county, ESL is a just a pull-out service that this kids get a few hours a week, and it only lasts a couple of years. My daughters had it for a year, and I didn't really find it all that helpful.

The Blonde Duck said...

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