Azorean Sweet Bread (Massa Sovada)

Massa Sovada, or Azorean Sweet Bread, is a food near and dear to our heart as it originates in the islands of the Azores where we are from. This sweet bread is typically eaten for the religious holidays, especially Easter, and is one of my favorite parts of these holidays. My favorite part of the sweet bread is the crust, and it is difficult not to eat all of it before anyone gets a taste! Massa Sovada is really easy to make and requires pretty simple ingredients, just made sure to follows the recipe closely to come out with some delicious sweet bread!

3 packages dry active yeast
2 cups milk
2 cups sugar
1/2 cup shortening (you can use crisco, butter, or vegetable oil)
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup lukewarm water
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 cups flour
8 eggs

For the Egg Wash:
1 egg
1 teaspoon water

1) Dissolve yeast in water and let rise to double in size.
2) Mix all dry ingredients together. Melt butter and shortening in milk and cool to lukewarm. Beat eggs and sugar together.
3) Mix all ingredients together and knead until the dough lifts neatly from bowl. Let it rise, usually for 6-8 hours.
4) Punch down, deflating the dough. Form individual breads pieces and put in buttered and floured pans (any shape or size will do). The dough should fill only half the pan. Let rise again until the dough doubles in size, filling the pan.
5) For the egg wash, brush top of dough with beaten egg.
6) Bake at 325 degrees Fahrenheit for 30 to 40 minutes (adjust longer cook time for larger loaves). The bread should be golden brown.
7) Serve and enjoy!


  1. Ana Maria

    I am so glad to have found this site.

  2. Goreti

    Made this today and couldn’t wait for it to cool to cut into it. It is absolutely delicious and very light. My mom’s was very good but a little denser. I actually like it lighter and had been looking for the right recipe. No need to look any more. This one is the winner.

  3. christina

    Love this recipe.
    Turned out great and so good. Wonderful memories from my childhood.
    I let it riase more then recommended anf came out so fluffy ans airy. Thank you so much for this website.
    Next I am going to try the bolos de arroz

    • Suzanne

      I too am glad that I found this website, and recipe in particular. I have fond childhood memories of both my grandmother and mother making masa sovada. My mother would start making in the early evening, would cover and let rise over night. The following day/24 hrs later, she would punch the dough down, put into pans, cover and let rise over night. The baking began the following morning and was an all day affair. Our whole kitchen table would be covered with bread loaves and egg knot rolls (pumbeenias – sp?)The egg knots were the first to bake as we would have them for breakfast, and would deliver the rest to my Aunts & Uncles whom lived on the same Street as us. The one thing I remember my mother saying is the longer you knead the bread, the lighter it will be. That and the combinations of the rising makes a perfect masa sovada! I don’t think I’ll be waiting for Easter to try this recipe! Thank you for sharing.

  4. Helen

    These recipes look great. I am particularly looking for a diabetic version of Massa Sovada in a smaller recipe.

  5. urbano medeiros

    use stevia sugar but cut the recommended sugar content to half of what the calls for and instead of butter use vegetable shortening

  6. This is a great recipe. First time I’ve made bread of any kind. It looked perfect , great texture, not to sweet. ( I would like it a little sweeter ). Really good.

  7. This is a great recipe, first time I have ever made bread of any kind. The texture was perfect , they looked perfect, they could have been a little sweeter. great recipe !

  8. Geraldine Azevedo

    I am so happy to find this recipe ,love it my grandmother made it when I was a kid

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