Light, fluffy, and perfectly sweet. This Vegan Portuguese Sweet Bread is easy to make and tastes just like the one you’d find at a local bakery.
Portuguese sweet bread, also known as massa sovada in Portuguese, is a traditional sweet bread made with milk, sugar, eggs, yeast, and flour. This fluffy and delicious loaf was a staple in Kat’s house growing up that we just had to veganize it. Traditionally, it’s served simply with some butter so that the sweet bread can shine.
Portuguese Sweet Bread is a light and airy bread with a subtle sweetness. It makes for a perfect morning treat with a little vegan butter or fruit jam. Kat also loves it on its own with a warm cup of tea or served alongside savoury dishes. It can also be made into buns – perfect for your next backyard bbq.
History of Portuguese Sweet Bread
In Portuguese culture food is at the heart of many celebrations. From cooking to eating, some recipes even make an appearance just on specific days of the year. Massa sovada, better know as Portuguese Sweet Bread in Canada is one of those recipes that I grew up eating on special occasions.
This delicious sweet bread originated in the Azores islands and has since found popularity across North America, particularly in Hawaii where it is better known as Hawaiian Sweet Bread. Traditionally it is made to celebrate holidays like Easter and Christmas. There’s even another variation with a whole egg baked into it that’s served during Easter celebrations. Nowadays you can find Portuguese Sweet Bread year round at most Portuguese bakeries in Toronto.
Why you’ll love this recipe:
- Light, fluffy, and perfectly sweet.
- Comes together with only 9 ingredients.
- Perfect for snacking, buns, or a sweet treat!
Top tips for making Vegan Portuguese Sweet Bread:
- Use Just Egg. Portuguese sweet bread traditionally has egg in the recipe, its what gives it its light yellow colour and airy texture, not to mention the deep golden brown colour when baked. To get that perfect look and taste we use Just Egg in our recipe.
- Careful not to over knead the dough. This recipe requires just enough kneading to create a bread-like texture but not too much as it should still have a cake-like look. You’ll know you’ve kneaded enough when the dough becomes less sticky and forms a smooth dough ball.
- Give the dough time to rise. This bread takes time to rise properly. If you can help it, don’t rush the process if you want the best Portuguese sweet bread. Alternatively you can dot he first proof overnight if the timing works better for you.
- Grease the pan well. This bread can easily stick to the pan your baking it in. To avoid cracking and breaking when you remove it, be sure to generously butter the pan and sprinkle with flour.
- Bake until deep golden brown. Massa sovada traditionally has a deep golden brown colour. It’s one of the signs I look for to know my bread is fully baked.
- Serve warm. Portuguese sweet bread is best served fresh from the oven (give it about 10 minute to cool slightly) with a little vegan butter. It’s simple, it’s sweet and it’s delicious. It’s also great with savoury dishes.
- Non-Dairy Milk – We use soy milk in this recipe, but any non-dairy milk should work. Just keep in mind that some may results in a subtle change to flavour. We’d recommend staying away from non-neutral tasting milks.
- Shortening – We use vegetable shortening from Crisco for this recipe.
- Vegan Butter – We use Becel Plant Based Sticks, but you can use any vegan butter.
- All-Purpose Flour – We use our local store brand unbleached all-purpose flour, any brand should work.
- Just Egg – This is key for this recipe to replace the eggs. It gives it the right structure, colour, and flavour.
- Vegan Egg Wash – We use a 1:1 combination of Just Egg and soy milk
What pan should I use for this recipe?
We recommend a round spring form pan. This makes it super easy to remove from the pan without issue while still warm. You could also bake this in loaf pan or as buns on a baking sheet or rectangle cake pan.
How do you store Portuguese Sweet Bread?
We store ours in an air-tight plastic bag on the counter. This helps keep it soft and fresh for 2-3 days.
Other vegan recipes you’ll love:
- Vegan Malasadas (Portuguese Doughnuts)
- Maltese Vegan Ricotta Pastizzi
- Maltese Froga Tat-tarja
- Vegan Portuguese Papas
How to make Vegan Portuguese Sweet Bread:
Vegan Portuguese Sweet Bread (Massa Sovada)
- ½ tbsp instant yeast
- 2 tbsp lukewarm water
- 100 g (½ cup) granulated sugar
- 360 g (3 cups) all-purpose flour
- pinch salt
- ½ cup non-dairy milk
- 24 g (2 tbsp) shortening
- 28 g (2 tbsp) vegan butter
- ½ cup Just Egg
- 1 tbsp Just Egg
- 1 tbsp soy milk
- Dissolve yeast in water and add a pinch of the sugar. Set aside until foamy.
- Combine all-purpose flour and salt, set aside.
- In a small pot over medium-low heat add non-dairy milk, vegan butter, and shortening until melted and combined. Set aside and cool until lukewarm.
- In a large bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer beat granulated sugar and just egg until combined. Add yeast mixture, flour mixture, and the milk mixture and knead together with your hands or a dough hook until a dough forms. The dough will be sticky – we recommend using stand mixer. Knead it until it comes together as a smooth ball. Cover the bowl with Saran Wrap and a kitchen towel and set aside to rise for 4-6 hours or doubled in size.
- Prepare a 6" spring form cake pan by brushing generously with melted vegan butter. Sprinkle with flour and move around until a thin coating of flour is over the inside.
- Punch down the dough then form it into a round loaf. Place in the prepared cake pan and allow to rise again until doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 300°F. Note that we use the convection setting on the oven.
- Make the egg wash by combining Just Egg and soy milk. Using a pastry brush brush the top of the proofed dough with egg wash.
- Bake the Portuguese sweet bread for 35-40 minutes or until a deep golden brown. We tend to lean towards 40 minutes when we bake ours.
- Let the bread cool in the pan for 5 minutes, then remove and set on a wire rack. Once slightly cooled, slice and enjoy!