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Massa Savoda – Portugese Sweet Bread – A.W.E.D. Portugal

This month’s A.W.E.D Portugal event gave me a chance to explore the Portugese cuisine. A.W.E.D (A Worldly Epicurean Delight) is an event started by DK of Chef In You, and hosted this month by Priya of Priya’s Easy N Tasty Recipes. Amongst all the recipes I explored, this particular bread caught my eye. Its called Massa Sovada in Portugese and is traditionally made during Easter and Christmas in Portugal. Every family has its own special recipe for this bread, and it is made in a huge quantity. I loved the simplicity of the recipe and wanted to try and make it myself. This bread can be made as a loaf, a roll or to make it look festive, as a braid! That’s what I did..this is my first braided bread. I guess it turned out just ok, next time, I’ll try and make thinner braids, hehe..This is a little time consuming, in terms of the rise time. It would be a lot easier to do the overnight rise in the refrigerator. Also, next time, I’ll make 2 small braids or 2 loaves. This was too big!!

This is the link to the original recipe.


Milk – 1/2 cup(I used whole)
Sugar – 1/2 cup
Butter – 1/4 cup
Salt – 3/4 tsp
Yeast – 1 1/2 tsp
Water – 1/8 cup
Eggs – 2
Mace – 1/4 tsp(I did not use this)
Vanilla Extract – 1/4 tsp(optional, not mentioned in the original recipe)
Lemon extract – 1/4 tsp(I substituted this with zest of 1 big lemon)
All Purpose Flour – 2 1/2 to 3 cups


  • Scald 1/2 cup milk. Add 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter (not shortening), 3/4 teaspoons salt, vanilla extract and stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool.
  • Proof the yeast in 1/8 cup of warm water for about 5 mins (or until foamy). Add to cooled milk mixture. Transfer to large bowl. Beat in 2 eggs. Add 1/2 teaspoon mace and 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract (optional); stir in 2 1/2 to 3 cups flour, and mix lightly.
  • Turn onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, adding flour as needed. The dough will be slightly sticky, because of all the sugar in the dough. Lightly oil the dough ball and put it in a bowl. Cover loosely with saran wrap and let rise for 3-4 hrs in a cool place or overnight in the refrigerator.

  • When the dough is well risen, punch down, re-cover, and let rise again, 1-1/2 to 2 hours.

And this is Milo, waiting for me to finish my work in the kitchen. I guess he does not understand why I make so much food and give him none of it!

  • Punch down again, shape 2 loaves, and place in greased pans or on greased sheet. Cover and let rise double, about 1 hour. You could do any shape you like, I did a braid. To make a braid, divide the dough into two equal parts, and each part into three equal parts again. Roll each part into 10″-12″ long rope. Braid just like you would braid your hair, and pinch the ends of the rope together. You could do two loaves instead.

  • Bake at 400 degrees F for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 375 degrees F and bake until loaves are well browned and sound hollow when tapped, 20 to 25 minutes. Cool on rack.
  • Serve dusted with confectioners sugar, or maybe with some butter and jam!!

You might also like:

Knackebrot (German Crispy Bread)

Ghriba – Traditional Moroccan Cookies

Eggplant Mushroom Roast with Peanuts – Aromatic & Flavorful!

Vegetable Soup with Pasta

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