Traditional Azores Round Sweet Breads - Rosquilhas
 
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
 
Rosquilhas are a traditional Azores round sweet bread, typically offered to visitors during Holy Ghost celebrations.This recipe is from the Island of Pico.
Author:
Recipe type: Dessert
Cuisine: Portuguese
Serves: 2 breads
Ingredients
  • 2 lbs (900 gr) of unbleached flour. Separate ½ lb (all-purpose flour is also fine).
  • 1 cup sugar. Separate ¼ cup.
  • 2 tsp sugar for yeast mixtures.
  • 6 eggs at room temperature
  • 4 tbsp butter at room temperature
  • 2½ tsp traditional active dry yeast
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2 tbsp tbsp warm water for the first yeast mixture
  • 3½ tbsp warm water for the first dough kneading
  • 2 tbsp warm water for the second yeast mixture
  • ½ cup + 1 tbsp warm water for mixing the final dough
Instructions
  1. First yeast mixture:
  2. In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp yeast, 1 tsp sugar and two tbsp warm water and set aside for 12 minutes.
  3. First dough kneading and rising
  4. In the mixer bowl, add ½ lb of flour and ¼ cup sugar.
  5. Make a small cove in the centre and add two eggs, the yeast mixture and 3½ tbsp warm water.
  6. Using the dough hook attachment, knead for 6 minutes. I used the number 2 setting. Note: The dough will be quite soft and sticky. This is expected.
  7. Scoop the dough out of the mixer bowl (scrape the sides) and place it in a medium bowl in the form of ball. Sprinkle a touch of flour over-top.
  8. Note: This bread is made with lots of faith and devotion. Once the dough is in the clean bowl, using her fingers, my mom makes the sign of the cross 3 times on the top of the dough while saying a prayer. She does this because she believes this will help the dough rise.
  9. Set aside and let the dough rise for 2½ hours covered with a towel to keep it warm. The dough should double in size.
  10. Second yeast mixture:
  11. In a small bowl, mix 1½ tsp yeast, 1 tsp sugar and two tbsp warm water and set aside for 12 minutes.
  12. Second and last dough kneading and rising
  13. In a large mixer bowl, add 1½ lbs flour, remaining sugar (3/4 cups) and salt.
  14. Make a cove in the centre and add remaining 4 eggs, previous yeast mixture, previously risen dough, butter and ½ cup + 1 tbsp warm water.
  15. Using the dough hook attachment, knead the dough on the lowest setting for 14 minutes. The dough will have a soft and slightly sticky consistency. This is expected.
  16. Move the dough (scrape the sides) to a large bowl.
  17. Note: Once again, my mom makes the sign of the cross 3 times on the top of the dough while saying a prayer. She does this because she believes this will help the dough rise.
  18. Cover with a towel and set aside for 2½ hours to rise. See the note below for additional instructions on how to know when the dough is ready.
  19. Shaping the bread
  20. Place a large tea towel on a flat surface and sprinkle a little flour evenly over the towel.
  21. Once the dough is ready, divide the dough in two equal parts inside the bowl.
  22. Slowly knead the first piece in your hands to smooth out the dough and then form it into a ball.
  23. Place the ball on the towel and poke a hole down the middle with your finger.
  24. Open up the hole wider and insert both hands into the hole from opposite sides.
  25. Now rotate your hands around each other inside the hole to evenly widen the hole. You're trying to form a donut shaped piece of dough.
  26. Place the dough on one side of the towel and repeat the last four steps for the second piece of dough.
  27. Cover the shaped dough and let it rise for another hour.
  28. Baking
  29. Place the oven shelves on the second and fourth levels.
  30. Preheat the oven to 350 ºF.
  31. Line two baking sheets with parchment paper.
  32. Uncover the shaped dough.
  33. Place each dough on a baking sheet, widening a touch while moving the dough.
  34. To reduce the chances of the holes closing up during baking, place small bowls (buttered on the sides) in the middle to help keep the hole shape.
  35. Using a very sharp knife point, cut 1 inch deep rounded lines (half moons) on the top of all four sides of each dough.
  36. Place the two baking sheets in the oven on each shelf, close the door and set your timer to 35 minutes.
  37. After about 17 minutes, open the oven door and rotate the baking sheets, moving the top one to the bottom shelf and the bottom one to the top shelf.
  38. Finish baking for the remainder of the 35 minutes.
  39. Take the baking sheets out and place the breads on a cooling rack.
  40. Dab paper towel into soft butter and spread it over each bread to coat it.
  41. Cool the bread completely before cutting... waiting is the hardest part of this recipe!! :-)
  42. Enjoy your freshly baked bread with butter or other favourite topping.
Notes
For this recipe, we used a kitchenAid mixer with the dough hook attachment for all kneading.

My mom uses an additional technique to know when the dough is ready. Once the dough is kneaded and moved to the bowl. She takes a pinch of dough out, about the size of a grape and shapes it into a ball. She flours this dough and places it in a glass of room temperature water. Once the ball of dough rises to the top, the dough has finishes rising. This really works!

Make sure to set aside enough time for the dough to rise. This can be up to a total of 7 hours.
Recipe by Photos & Food at https://www.photosandfood.ca/2016/05/08/traditional-azores-round-sweet-bread-rosquilhas/