Making Brazilian Bread: Pão Sovado

After writing so much about baking I really wanted to make something new.  So over a recent weekend I had a BAKING BONANZA!!!  I baked two types of bread which totaled 5 loaves and I baked a SUPER chocolatey cookie.  One of the breads I made is the Brazilian bread I will be telling you about today.  It is called Pão Sovado.  I was inspired to make this bread by Chef Léo Oliveira, a Brazilian YouTuber who makes great videos(only in Portuguese) about Brazilian foods and cakes. 

What is Pão Sovado?

I was able to find that “Sovado” is from a Portuguese verb sovar, which means to knead.  Most likely it was called this because of the characteristic soft and tender texture of the bread created by the kneading process. It is a common bread of the Middle North region of Brazil and also the Amazon. After some research I was able to find that this type of bread bases its origins in a bread from France, more specifically, the Provence region Hence, one of its other names Pão Provence.  It is also know as Pão Tatu or Armadillo Bread because of its shape.  

Pão Sovado, Mixing the ingredients, rising the dough and baking the dough.

Pão Sovado

Time: 30 minutes prep, 2-4 hours rising, 20+minutes baking

Yield: 2 Large and 1 Small Loaves, OR 3 Medium Loaves

Ingredients

  • 1 kg of all purpose flour
  • 1 teaspoon salt or 10g
  • 200g sugar or 1 cup and 3 tablespoons
  • 20g of dry biological yeast or 60g of fresh
  • 2 eggs
  • 2 tablespoons full of margarine or 80g
  • 400ml of cold milk
  • 1 egg yolk to brush on top of the bread
  • Extra butter to top the bread before baking

Procedure

  • Begin by pouring the flour into a large bowl and then add the yeast. Stirring to combine. Then you will add the salt and sugar, again stirring to combine. 
  • Now we will begin adding the wet ingredients.  First the butter and eggs are added to the bowl.  You will want to use your hand for this and squeeze the ingredients into the flour a few times just to get the process started.  
  • Then start by adding half of the milk to the bowl and knead it into the flour, at this point the flour will still be kind of dry. Once it is pretty well mixed in add half of the remain milk to the bow and knead in throughly again.  Now depending on things like weather and temperature your dough may have enough moisture at this point.  You want the dough to start coming together but still have a little flour left in the bottom of the bowl (See image from Chef Oliveira below).  If it  doesn’t seem to be coming together very well or if it is still dry continue adding the milk a tablespoon at a time kneading it into the dough and checking before you add more.
  • Once the dough is ready you will want to pour it on to your working surface and knead it for 10 minutes, after all Sovado does mean to knead! The dough will be soft and sticky but don’t worry!  The longer you knead it the more it will come together. You don’t really want to add to much extra flour to the work surface.  It is also a large amount of dough so make sure you have enough space and you might want to use both hands to knead.
  • Put a tablespoon of oil in your bowl, spread it around with your fingers and let your bread rest until doubled in size which can take anywhere from thirty minutes to two hours depending on your weather and temperature conditions.  While the dough rises prepare 2 baking pans by buttering and flouring the surface.
  • Once it has doubled in size, we will turn the bowl over and dump our dough out on to a floured surface and get our rolling pins ready. Roll the dough out in to a rectangle about the width of 1finger and then you fold it in half lengthwise→, like a book.  Give the dough a 90° turn and repeat 3 times. After the final roll we will leave the dough in a rectangle for shaping.
  •  You can straighten the edges of the rectangle by pushing with your fingers together the best shape possible.  Then you will want to cut the dough in half using a bench scraper or knife.  You will then fold the dough down ↓ creating 2 long skinny rectangles.  Then you will cut each rectangle into pieces about the length of your finger.  Cut one and use it as a guide to cut the others so they are all about the same. About 11-12 pieces total.
  • Now get your prepared pans.  You will want to place 4 pieces of dough with the cut sides up and down pushed next to each other, leaving room on all side for the doughty rise. 
  • We will let the formed dough rise in the pan uncovered until doubled. 
  • Heat oven at 400°F/200°C. Then using a knife or razor blade very carefully cut a straight line about 1/2 an inch deep down the middle of each loaf. Fill the line you just cut with a little butter and then brush only the sides, not the center cut, with lightly beaten egg yolk. Bake until crispy and lightly brown.  I baked my for 20 minutes and then checked it every 2-5 minutes after that.  
Finished!

Recommended Equipment:

Click the images below to see some of Amazon.com highest rated products for items used in this recipe!

Resources:

To watch the original video which is only in Portuguese, you can click here.

Click to read about Pão Sovado.  (Only in Portuguese)

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