As a general rule we can say that savoury Easter bread, which are more common on North Portugal (Trás-os-Montes/Douro and Minho regions) are called “Bola”, and the sweet Easter bread which is spread all over the country would be the “Folar”. But the true is that we mix the two names and in some regions “Bola” and “Folar” can both be used on savoury versions.
The savoury Easter bread is filled with chicken, chouriço, smoked cured ham, cod fish or even sardines. The sweet version is similar to a plain brioche, which can be flavoured with cinnamon and anise seeds. In Lisbon as well as in the Azore’s Islands the sweet brioche is topped with hard boiled eggs (with shell on).
I have never been an enthusiast for the sweet versions and I can blame my mother for that, as she made every year two batches of this delicious Folar.
Makes 4 loaves
1 Kg plain flour (not self-raising)
200ml of olive oil
30g fresh yeast
30g sea salt
Smoked cured ham
All ingredients should be at room temperature.
1. Butter the loaf tins or use baking paper.
2. In a small bowl, whisk together the warm water and the fresh yeast.
3. In another bowl whisk the eggs (yolk and whites).
4. Melt the butter in a small pan, remove from the heat. Add the olive oil and whisk. Set aside.
5. On a big bowl put the flour and the sea salt and open a hole in the middle. Add the water/yeast mixture and mix slowly.
6. Add the whisked eggs and mix.
7. Add the olive oil and butter mixture.
8. Mix the dough for about 15 minutes, until bubbles come to surface.
9. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and leave to rise a room temperature for about 2 hours. My kitchen it’s very warm in the afternoon, so I place the bowl near a window with direct sun light.
10. Slice the chouriço. Slice the smoked cured ham. Slice the bacon.
11. With your hand release the dough from the bowl, and place a portion of dough onto the tin, on top lay the sliced chouriço and bacon, add another portion of dough and a layer of smoked cured ham. Finish it with a portion of dough.
12. Cover the tins with a tea towel and leave to rise a room temperature for about 30 minutes. It’s ready as soon as you see little bubbles on surface.
13. Preheat the oven.
14. Bake for about 40 minutes (225ºC).
You can make the folar on a rectangular loaf tin or on a jelly roll pan.
The baked folar can be frozen.
Toast your folar slice and spread your favourite butter.