Monday, June 1, 2020

Portuguese Honey Bread

Several years ago, I found a 1969 issue of Good Housekeeping at a yard sale and bought it because of the food and craft ideas. One of the recipes that caught my eye was for Portuguese Honey Bread, a type of sweet bread that includes a lot of spices, including anise seed, a flavor I seldom come across.

This weekend, I decided it was time to try baking this bread, and I was thrilled that mine came out looking like the photo in the magazine! I sprayed the pan with cooking spray, but I was still a little nervous about whether the bread would come out of the pan cleanly. What a beautiful sound when I inverted it onto a plate and heard a pleasant little plop.

The bread is baked in a 9-inch rose mold, which I believe I found on eBay, and when I checked eBay over the weekend, several of this exact mold were again available there at reasonable prices. (It's a two-quart mold, so if you have that size in another design, I'd certainly use it.)

I served the bread warm, and Alex and I both enjoyed it. (He had his with coffee, and of course I had tea.) While not dry, it's not the typical moist tea bread either, and something about the texture seems exactly right for teatime. The original recipe was enough to make three loaves, but after making a few calculations online, I whittled it down to one. So if you'd like to try this sweet bread yourself, here's the recipe!

Portuguese Honey Bread

3/4 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup molasses
1/4 cup honey
3/4 cup plus 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
2 tablespoons cold mashed potatoes
2 tablespoons cooking sherry
1/2 teaspoon ground cloves
1 teaspoon anise seed
1 tablespoon plus 1 teaspoon cinnamon
1/8 teaspoon black pepper
1/2 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 teaspoon baking powder
3-2/3 cups sifted all-purpose flour

Preheat oven to 325 degrees. In a large bowl of an electric mixer, add butter, molasses, honey, and sugar and mix at medium speed until fluffy. Add mashed potatoes, sherry, cloves, anise, cinnamon, pepper, baking soda, and baking powder and beat till combined well.

Using low speed of mixer, add half of the flour. Mixture will be very thick, so add the rest of the flour and stir with a wooden spoon or a spatula just till combined. 

Prepare 2-quart mold with cooking spray and add batter. The original recipe said to bake for 1 hour and 30 minutes or until a cake tester inserted in the center comes out clean, and I checked at 1 hour and 20 minutes and found mine tested clean. Bread should be coming away from the sides of the mold.

Leave bread in mold and cool on wire rack for 10 minutes. Remove from mold and serve warm.  Yields one bread.


  1. Wow, your bread looks so elegant! I've never seen a mold like that before--I really like it.

  2. It looks lovely...Is the recipe you've shared for one loaf or the original for three?

    1. Hi, Terri! It is the recipe for one loaf. (Which has almost disappeared! It seems to get better each day.)

  3. Such a pretty bread/cake! This would have been perfect for the honey themed tea event we did pre-Covid.


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