Emeril Lagasse's Portuguese Sweet Bread

READY IN: 7hrs
Recipe by LifeIsGood

This is a recipe that has been handed down for generations in Emeril's family. It is his family's favorite bread to have at Easter, but can be made at any time. This recipe makes five small loaves. It is very hands-on, requiring kneading but it works very well. The prep time is for rising. Note: If making for Easter, you can add a colored Easter egg to the top of each loaf during the final rising. You would need 5 colored Easter eggs, one for each loaf.

Top Review by Scarlett516

I love massa sovada! I used to live in an area with a large Portuguese population (about 1/2 hour from where Emeril is from!) and used to get this all the time. Since it takes so long, I can't see myself making this often, but it's great for a once-in-a-while treat. I made 1/5 the recipe to get 1 loaf. Since the recipe gives really difficult amounts, I used 1 cup milk, 1/4 teaspoon salt, 4 tbsp unsalted butter instead of lard, 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast, 4 tbsp flour, plus about 2 1/2 cups flour (I weighed it out), 3 large eggs, 1 cup sugar, 3 tbsp water. I made the glaze as written since I didn't mind having extra glaze. Don't expect a typical dough ball for kneading. This is more like a quick bread batter. I kneaded by using 6 turns of my Kitchen Aid dough hook.

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Combine the milk, salt and lard in a saucepan and bring to a boil. Set aside.
  2. In a small bowl combine the yeast, 1 cup of the flour, and 1/2 cup warm water and set aside.
  3. In a large bowl, with a whisk, combine the eggs, sugar and lemon zest and mix thoroughly.
  4. Add the milk mixture, yeast mixture and remaining flour and thoroughly combine.
  5. Set aside to rise, kneading 6 times every half hour.
  6. The bread will take 6 hours to rise.
  7. Prepare 5 round loaf pans with butter or lard.
  8. Divide the batter among the pans - each pan should be half full.
  9. Press the dough evenly in the pan and let it rise again until it reaches the top of the pan.
  10. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  11. Brush the loaves with beaten egg.
  12. Bake for about 1 hour, until golden brown.

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