Saturday, October 29, 2011

Portuguese Bread Folar


Folar is an Easter bread that can be sweet or savory, depending upon the region of Portugal. What is different about this recipe is the incredible amount of eggs in the dough. The best thing is that it turns out light, fluffy, yet full of flavor, with a delicate crust that melts in the mouth.
The first time I heard about folar was at a hair saloon. The lady taught me how to make this bread, and also paella with rabbit meat. I never got to make the paella her way, but I sure made folar a few times.
Over twenty years had passed, and here am I again making folar on an improved recipe I found on the internet at www.gastronomias.com. For those ones who cannot read Portuguese, I shall translate it for you with my own personal twist (and experience). This is a great recipe.

1 kg all-purpose flour
12 eggs (yes, 12!) with shells warmed in warm water before breaking
250g melted butter
50g olive oil
30g compressed fresh yeast melted in ¼ cup warm water
Warm milk and salt
Smoked sausage sliced, salt pork or bacon cut into small cubes, ham, roasted chicken

In a large bowl, make a well in the center of the flour. Pour melted yeast and eggs, mixing in a circle, adding the flour little by little. Add butter and oil. If the dough is stiff, add a little bit of warm milk with salt to taste. It´s a soft dough, so you do more beating kind of movement than kneading until it forms a ball. Let it rise.
The recipe instructs to divide the dough into 3 and make layers (like lasagna) with meat. Let it rise again, and then, brush with egg wash, and bake in hot oven for 45 minutes.
I have done it differently. I was so tired and sleepy that night that I stashed into the fridge until next morning. I took it out of the fridge, kneaded a bit, and stretched with a hand roller. I cut the dough into 2, opened it like pizza crust, and spread the meat over. I rolled it (like would sushi), tucked the sides underneath and let it rise. Over two hours later, and with the dough risen greatly, I popped them in a hot oven for about 30 minutes. I lowed the temperature a bit, so not to burn. They came out huge, light, fluffly, and tasty.
The next day I used the same recipe and process, but filled with provolone cheese and the other piece with green olives. I can’t say which one is best.

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