Easter-Worthy Portuguese Potato Sweet Bread
- 2 Idaho® potatoes, peeled, sliced (enough to make 1 cup mashed)
- 2 envelopes active dry yeast
- 3 tablespoons sugar
- 1/2 cup lukewarm potato water
- 1/2 teaspoon ground ginger
- 1/2 cup each; milk, butter
- 2 teaspoon salt
- 12 eggs: 6 extra-large eggs, beaten, plus five or six unshelled eggs for topping the bread
- 1 1/2 cups sugar
- 7 to 8 cups flour
- Heat water to just below a boil. Simmer potatoes in water until tender. Reserve the potato water; mash the potatoes, reserving 1 cup for the recipe and using any extra for something else.
- Cool potato water to lukewarm.
- Stir yeast and 3 tablespoons sugar into ½ cup potato water until dissolved. Add mashed potato and ginger. Stir until well incorporated. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
- Heat milk with butter and salt until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm.
- Reserving a tablespoon of beaten egg to use as egg wash later, beat remaining eggs until light yellow and frothy. Gradually beat in 1 1/2 cups sugar until glossy and volumized. Combine yeast and egg mixtures, blending well. Stir in 2 cups flour. Add milk and beat until well blended. Add two more cups flour; beat five minutes. Gradually stir in more flour until dough is stiff enough to knead.
- Turn out on a floured board and knead about 10 minutes, adding only enough flour to prevent sticking until dough is well kneaded and gluten has formed. Put dough in large, oiled bowl; turn once; cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in bulk. Punch down, put on floured board and divide into two parts. Stretch each part into a long, 4 inch by15 inch rectangle. Cut each rectangle into three long strips. Braid into a wreath. Place each braided wreath onto a greased baking sheet. Cover lightly with plastic wrap you've sprayed with oil. Let rise in warm place until doubled.
- While bread rises, hard boil the remaining six eggs. Cool. Dye to desired colors.
- When bread has risen, mix reserved raw egg with 1 teaspoon water and brush on loaves. Carefully tuck hard-boiled dyed eggs on top. Bake at 350 degrees F for 40 - 50 minutes, until done.