Bolo Rei Recipe (Portuguese Christmas King Bread)

Bolo Rei Recipe (Portuguese Christmas King Bread)
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Bolo de rei, Portuguese Christmas king bread is definitely amongst the most popular Portuguese Christmas desserts enjoyed throughout the holidays. Our bolo de rei recipe, Portuguese king bread is easy to prepare and makes a great gift. Although referred to as Portuguese king cake, this bolo de rei is actually a very rich sweet bread with a cakey texture.

bolo de rei Portuguese Christmas King Bread

We can all feel the Christmas season approaching and everybody is excited and hyped about it. Did I mention that this classic holiday bread makes a fantastic gift?….These truly make the best gifts…Every year during the Christmas holiday season, I make at least 20 of these nutty and fruity king breads to hand them out as gifts.

For kids it’s all about the family get togethers, free gifts and sweets! On the other hand the holiday Christmas season for us is about entertaining our family and guest at the dinner table and the best sweet and delicious center piece is the bolo de rei.

What Is Portuguese Bolo Rei?

Bolo Rei originates from Portugal, this famous Portuguese Christmas King Bread also referred to as kings cake, is shaped resembling a crown. This unique cake like sweet bread is infused with walnuts, pine, almonds, mixed glazed fruits and raisins giving a rich nutty and fruit texture.

This traditional Portuguese sweet king bread has an infinity of flavors and glazed candied toppings which can be customized the way you want it.

Portuguese King bread or king cake is made with ingredients such as butter, milk, anise, port wine and rum. Right after proofing the bolo de rei is brushed with egg then topped with almonds and a variety of glazed candied fruit like figs, mandarins, pumpkin, pineapple then dusted with icing sugar before baking.

bolo rei christmas bread

What Is Needed To Make Bolo de Rei Recipe Portuguese King Bread?

Beside the ingredients listed below, to make the best bolo rei you will a two large baking trays and a planetary mixer. If you don’t have a mixer, don’t sweat it, a little bit of elbow grease will help you out with kneading of the dough.

Ready to make this delicious Holiday Christmas Cake, Portuguese Bolo De Rei? Let’s do It!

Ingredients For The Bolo De Rei Preferment:

  • 2 cups all purpose flour (240 grams)
  • 1/2 cup milk (60 grams)
  • 1 large egg (beaten) (50 grams)
  • 2 packets dry instant yeast (14 grams)
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar (50 grams)
  • 2 tablespoon warm water (30 grams) to hydrate yeast

Ingredients For Portuguese King Bread Dough (Bolo Rei):

  • 414 grams preferment
  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour (390 grams)
  • 1 teaspoon salt (6 grams)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar (150 grams)
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise powder (2.5 grams)
  • 1 packet dry instant yeast (7 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon water (15 grams) to hydrate yeast
  • 2 large eggs (100 grams)
  • 1/4 cup milk (60 grams)
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter (90 grams) room temperatue
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract (5 grams)
  • 2 tablespoon port wine (30 grams)
  • 1 tablespoon rum or brandy (15 grams)
  • 2/3 cup raisins (100 grams)
  • 1 cup mixed lemon and orange peel (150 grams)
  • 1/2 cup walnuts (60 grams) chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts (30 grams)
  • 1/2 cup almonds (60 grams) chopped

Ingredients For Bolo Rei Topping:

  • 1 cup icing sugar (120 grams) for topping
  • 2 candied whole figs ( 100 grams)
  • 1 cup slivered almonds for topping ( 100 grams)
  • 2 candied mandarins (100 grams)
  • 8 strips candied pumpkin slices (200 grams)
  • 2 candied pear halves (150 grams)
  • 1 large egg (50 grams) beaten

How to Make Portuguese King Bread Preferment?

  1. Prepare the preferment – dissolve the yeast with the water in a small bowl and let it stand for 5 minutes or until it begins to bubble.
  2. Mixing with mixer – Add the flour, sugar, milk, yeast and into a mixing bowl with the hook attachment and mix on low speed for 3 minutes. Increase the speed and mix for additional 4 minutes. Dough should be about 80% delivered.
  3. Kneading by hand – add all the ingredients into a large bowl and the into a large bowl, add the sugar and salt and create a well in the center. Pour in the eggs and milk and using a spatula or your hand combine the flour with the liquids from outer side towards the center. Once the flour absorbs the liquid, knead the dough on it’s developed.
  4. Transfer the dough into a greased bowl, cover and let it ferment for one hour or until it has doubled in volume.

How To make Bolo De Rei Dough?

  1. Prepare the final dough – add the yeast and water into a bowl and mix together until dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  2. Mixing Final dough with mixing machine – Add the flour, anise powder, salt, sugar, eggs, yeast mixture, port wine, rum and milk into the mixing machine bowl with the hook attachment and mix on slow for 2 minutes.
  3. Place in the preferment dough and mix on slow for 3 minutes.
  4. Add the butter in small portions (2 tablespoons) and increase the mixer speed and continue to mix for 5 minutes or until the dough is fully developed.
  5. Once the dough is mixed, add the pine nut, almonds, raisins and glazed lemon and orange peel and mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes or until the inclusions are fully incorporated.
  6. Remove the dough and place into a large greased or floured bowl or dough ferment the dough for 60 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
  7. By hand Kneading Method – place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and create a well. Add the liquids and butter all at once and work the dough until absorbed by the flour mixture.
  8. Add the preferment and begin to knead the dough by until developed, about 10 minutes.
  9. Spread the dough outward and add the inclusion and mix until combined.
  10. Follow step 10.

How To Shape Bolo Rei?

  1. Transfer the dough onto a flour working surface and divide into 2 equal parts or scale at 842 grams each.
  2. Round each piece into a boule, cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
  3. Poke a hole into the center shape the dough into a large ring about 8 inches in diameter.
  4. Line two large baking trays with parchment paper.
  5. Place onto the middle of baking tray and cover with plastic and let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in volume.
  6. Preheat the oven to 185°C (365°F) about 30 minutes before the Portuguese king bread is proofed.
  7. Glaze the top with the egg wash, then decorate with the candied fruit, almond slices and icing sugar as shown above.
  8. Place both trays into the oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Alternate the trays after 20 minutes to ensure even baking.
  9. Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.
  10. Slice the bolo de rei and serve.
bolo de rei icing sugar

How Long Will Portuguese King Bread Keep?

Bolo rei, Portuguese king bread surprisingly has a long self due to the amount of sugar and candled fruit. To store, keep packaged in a plastic bag or air tight container for up to two weeks.

Some More Delicious Portuguese Holiday Recipes

bolo de rei Portuguese Christmas King Bread

Bolo Rei (Portuguese King Bread)

Bolo Rei, Portuguese king bread is classic Christmas dessert bread that celebrated during the the holiday season. Made with nuts, fruits and spices, this rich sweet bread is shaped into a decorative crown.
Prep Time 40 mins
Cook Time 35 mins
Rest and Proofing 2 hrs
Total Time 3 hrs 15 mins
Course Breads, Christmas, Holiday, Seasonal
Cuisine Azorean, Brazilian, Portuguese
Servings 16 slices
Calories 200 kcal

Ingredients
  

PREFERMENT

  • 2 cups all purpose flour 240 grams
  • 1/2 cup milk 60 grams
  • 1 large egg beaten (50 grams)
  • 2 packets dry instant yeast 14 grams
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar 50 grams
  • 2 tablespoon warm water 30 grams to hydrate yeast

FINAL DOUGH

  • 414 grams preferment
  • 3 1/4 cups all purpose flour 390 grams
  • 1 teaspoon salt 6 grams
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar 150 grams
  • 1/2 teaspoon anise powder 2.5 grams
  • 1 packet dry instant yeast 7 grams
  • 1 tablespoon water 15 grams to hydrate yeast
  • 2 large eggs 100 grams
  • 1/4 cup milk 60 grams
  • 9 tablespoons unsalted butter 90 grams room temperatue
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract 5 grams
  • 2 tablespoon port wine 30 grams
  • 1 tablespoon rum or brandy 15 grams
  • 2/3 cup raisins 100 grams
  • 1 cup mixed lemon and orange peel 150 grams
  • 1/2 cup walnuts 60 grams chopped
  • 1/4 cup pine nuts 30 grams
  • 1/2 cup almonds 60 grams chopped

TOPPINGS

  • 1 cup icing sugar 120 grams for topping
  • 2 candied whole figs 100 grams
  • 1 cup sliced almond for topping 100 grams
  • 2 candied mandarins 100 grams
  • 8 strips candied pumpkin slices 200 grams
  • 2 candied pear halves 150 grams
  • 1 large egg 50 grams beaten

Instructions
 

PREFERMENT

  • Prepare the preferment – dissolve the yeast with the water in a small bowl and let it stand for 5 minutes or until it begins to bubble.
  • Mixing with mixer – Add the flour, sugar, milk, yeast and into a mixing bowl with the hook attachment and mix on low speed for 3 minutes. Increase the speed and mix for additional 4 minutes. Dough should be about 80% delivered.
  • Kneading by hand – add all the ingredients into a large bowl and the into a large bowl, add the sugar and salt and create a well in the center. Pour in the eggs and milk and using a spatula or your hand combine the flour with the liquids from outer side towards the center. Once the flour absorbs the liquid, knead the dough on it’s developed.
  • Transfer the dough into a greased bowl, cover and let it ferment for one hour or until it has doubled in volume.

FINAL DOUGH

  • Prepare the final dough – add the yeast and water into a bowl and mix together until dissolved. Let stand for 5 minutes.
  • Mixing Final dough with mixing machine – Add the flour, anise powder, salt, sugar, eggs, yeast mixture, port wine, rum and milk into the mixing machine bowl with the hook attachment and mix on slow for 2 minutes.
  • Place in the preferment dough and mix on slow for 3 minutes.
  • Add the butter in small portions (2 tablespoons) and increase the mixer speed and continue to mix for 5 minutes or until the dough is fully developed.
  • Once the dough is mixed, add the pine nut, almonds, raisins and glazed lemon and orange peel and mix on low speed for 2-3 minutes or until the inclusions are fully incorporated.
  • Remove the dough and place into a large greased or floured bowl or dough ferment the dough for 60 minutes or until it has doubled in size.
  • By hand Kneading Method – place all the dry ingredients into a large bowl and create a well. Add the liquids and butter all at once and work the dough until absorbed by the flour mixture.
  • Add the preferment and begin to knead the dough by until developed, about 10 minutes.
  • Spread the dough outward and add the inclusion and mix until combined.
  • Follow step 10.

SHAPING AND TOPPING

  • Transfer the dough onto a flour working surface and divide into 2 equal parts or scale at 842 grams each.
  • Round each piece into a boule, cover and let rest for 20 minutes.
  • Poke a hole into the center shape the dough into a large ring about 8 inches in diameter.
  • Line two large baking trays with parchment paper.
  • Place onto the middle of baking tray and cover with plastic and let it rise for about 1 1/2 hours or until it has doubled in volume.
  • Preheat the oven to 185°C (365°F) about 30 minutes before the Portuguese king bread is proofed.
  • Glaze the top with the egg wash, then decorate with the candied fruit, almond slices and icing sugar as shown above.
  • Place both trays into the oven and bake for approximately 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Alternate the trays after 20 minutes to ensure even baking.
  • Remove from the oven and cool for 30 minutes.
  • Slice the bolo de rei and serve.
Keyword anise sweet bread, bolo de rei, bolo rei, bread, breads from around the world, fruit bread, nut bread, portuguese christmas breads, portuguese holiday cakes, portuguese king bread, portuguese king cake, portuguese sweets, sweet bread, xmas bread, xmas cake



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