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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.
5 from 6 votes
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



  • 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


  • 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


  • 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



  • 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.


  • 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.


  • 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.
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