It's not Easter without the very much loved Folar! A traditional Portuguese Easter bread. As kids we would receive them from our godparents. To this day we still look forward to having it every Easter.
Today I thought of sharing my moms recipe for the traditional Easter bread (sweet bread). This is hand knead bread just the way mom makes it.
~ 3pkgs (4oz) of active yeast (diluted in warm water for about 5-10 minutes before adding to mixture)
~ 16 cups of all purpose flour
~ 4 cups of sugar
~ 3 tbsp of cinnamon
~ lemon zest from 2 lemons
~ 5 eggs
~ 1 tbsp of salt
~ 3 tbsp of butter
~ 3 cups of water (add more if needed)
Add all the dry ingredients in a very large bowl, and whisk them together. Make a small opening in the middle of the dry ingredients and add all the other ingredients. Add 2 and a half cups of water to the mixture and flour your hands. Start to mix everything together. Keep mixing adding more water if it is too dry, or adding more flour if it's to wet (sticky). Use the heel of your hands to compress and push the dough away from you, then fold it back over itself. Keep folding over and compressing the dough until it becomes smooth and
slightly shiny. Add some more flour to the bottom and the sides of your bowl. Cover it with a warm cloth and let it rise for about 10 hours.
In the meantime, if you are decorating your bread with eggs, you can stain them now. Bring a pot of water and onion peels to a boil. Add your eggs. Cook them for about 15 minutes. Let it cool.
When you are ready to bake your bread, preheat the oven to 350C. With a knife cut the amount of dough you would like to make into buns.
Optional: Add 2-4 of the cooked/stained eggs to the top of your dough. Make 2 strip of the bread dough by rolling it out (approximately half an inch thick and long enough to go over the top of your bun and eggs). If you would like to braid it you will need 4 strips. You can customize it how ever you would like. Add a bit of water or egg wash to the sides of the dough strips so that they will stick.
Glaze the top of your bread with an egg wash. Bake for about 40-50 minutes. Cool and enjoy.
This recipe makes about five or six 9" little breads. But in the end you can decide how big/small you would like them to be.