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?
PORTUGUESE SWEET BREAD
1-1/3 cups warm milk
6 tsp yeast*
1/2 cup sugar
4 cups flour
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.