Portuguese Sweet Bread

Author: Canadian Living

From multicultural Toronto, colourful loaves decorated with candied fruit are a buffet centrepiece showstopper. You can bake the loaves in the shape of either a festive ring or braid.

  • Portion size 20 servings


  • 2 cups finely chopped, mixed candied fruit
  • 1 cup raisin seedless
  • 1/2 cup port
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons finely grated orange rind
  • 2 pkg active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cups granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cups water lukewarm
  • 7 cups all purpose flour
  • 3/4 cups butter softened
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 eggs
  • 2/3 cups milk lukewarm
  • 1 cup toasted and chopped almond
  • 1 cup toasted and chopped walnut
  • 2 tablespoons butter melted
  • 1 egg
  • 2/3 cups halved candied cherries
  • 3 tablespoons corn syrup


In small bowl, mix together candied fruit, raisins, port and lemon and orange rinds; cover and set aside, stirring occasionally.

In bowl, whisk together yeast, 1 tbsp (15 mL) of the sugar, the water and 1 cup (250 mL) of the flour until smooth. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place for 30 minutes or until doubled in bulk.

In large bowl, beat together butter, salt and remaining sugar until fluffy. Beat in eggs, 1 at a time, beating well after each addition. Beat in 1 cup (250 mL) of the flour; beat in milk.

Stir down yeast mixture; beat into egg mixture until blended. With wooden spoon, mix in fruit mixture and nuts. Stir in as much of the remaining flour, 1 cup (250 mL) at a time, as needed to make soft sticky dough.

Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead gently for 2 minutes, adding up to 1/2 cup (125 mL) more flour if needed. Transfer to large greased bowl; brush top with butter. Cover and let rise in warm draft-free spot for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Punch down dough; divide in half. Knead each on lightly floured surface for 1 minute. Shape each into ball; place on parchment paper-lined or greased baking sheet. With 2 fingers, poke hole in centre of each; gently stretch hole to 3-1/2 inches (9 cm) to make about 9-inch (23 cm) ring. Grease outside of 2 empty 19-oz (540 mL) cans; place can in centre of each ring.

Topping: Brush dough with egg. Decoratively arrange cherries over top, pressing into dough. Cover lightly and let rise in warm draft-free spot for 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Bake loaves in centre of 375°F (190°C) oven for 35 to 40 minutes or until golden. Transfer to rack and let cool. (Loaves can be wrapped and frozen in rigid container for up to 2 weeks; thaw and reheat in 350°F /180°C oven for 10 minutes.) Brush corn syrup over loaves.

Nutritional facts Per serving, about:

  • Calories 220.0
  • Total fat 7 g
  • Total carbohydrate 36 g
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Baking & Desserts

Portuguese Sweet Bread