Portuguese Muffins (Bolo Levedo)

Recipe by Susan Reid

A Portuguese muffin looks like a very large English muffin, without the cornmeal on the bottom or the craggy holes within. About 4" in diameter, and a good 1" thick, this soft though sturdy bun is delicious toasted and slathered with butter and jam, à la English muffin; and it's equally good as the basis for a sandwich. With a vibrant Portuguese community in southeastern Massachusetts, many restaurants in that region serve their signature sandwiches on Portuguese muffins. Our version of these muffins includes some non-traditional ingredients: potato and soy flour, (both optional), which contribute to the muffin's soft, tender texture; and a touch of both lemon and vanilla.

35 mins
18 to 22 mins
3 hrs 38 mins
10 large muffins
Portuguese Muffins (Bolo Levedo)


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  1. To make by hand or with an electric mixer: Scald the milk (heat it just until small bubbles form), then pour it over the butter. Set the mixture aside to cool to lukewarm.

  2. Weigh your flour; or measure it by gently spooning it into a cup, then sweeping off any excess. In a large bowl, or in the bowl of an electric mixer, combine all of the dry ingredients, whisking thoroughly. (This prevents the potato flour from lumping).

  3. Add the remaining ingredients, mixing to form a workable dough. Knead the dough until it's smooth; this should be a soft (though not sticky) dough.

  4. Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, cover the bowl with plastic wrap, and allow the dough to rise for about 90 minutes; it'll become quite puffy.

  5. To make with a bread machine: Place all of the ingredients into the pan of your bread machine, program the machine for manual or dough, and press Start. About 10 minutes before the end of the final kneading cycle, examine the dough, and adjust its texture as necessary with additional flour or water. The dough should have formed a smooth, cohesive ball. Allow the machine to finish its cycle.

  6. Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled work surface, and divide it into 10 pieces, each about 3 1/4 ounces in weight.

  7. Form the dough into tight balls, and let them rest, covered, for about 30 minutes. Flatten the balls into circles 4" to 5" in diameter and about 1/2" thick.

  8. Place the muffins on a lightly greased or parchment-lined baking sheet, leaving about 1 1/2" between them.

  9. Place a piece of parchment paper atop the muffins, or lightly grease the bottom of the second baking sheet. Place it atop the muffins, and let them rise for 45 minutes, or until they're about 3/4" thick.

  10. Bake the muffins in a preheated 400°F oven for 18 to 22 minutes, leaving the second baking sheet in place; this will help keep the muffins flat.

  11. Remove the top baking sheet, and test to make sure the muffins are done; they'll be golden brown on the top and bottom, with paler sides. Remove them from the oven, and cool on wire racks.

  12. Store, well-wrapped, for 3 days on the counter, or freeze for up to a month.

Tips from our Bakers

  • If you choose not to use the potato flour and/or soy flour, reduce the milk by 1 tablespoon.