I went to college in NH, and a local pizza joint sold Portuguese muffins, which was my first exposure. Plain, with butter and jam, or as the bread for all their burgers and famous chicken sandwich. Looking for a little nostalgia trip. Now on the west coast, and entirely disconnected from the east coast bakery scene. I understand the epicenter for Portuguese food on the right coast is Fall River Mass. Thanks!!
Do you recall a store called “Ocean State Job Lot” when you were back east? They regularly stock the muffins of which you speak (I forget which bakery but I’m pretty sure it’s one from Fall River). Maybe a sympathetic east coast Onion could ship them to you?
Send me a direct message if you’re interested in this proposition.
I was in Hanover, NH. Extremely small town. No such store there, at the time. I could be interested in such a proposition, but I would guess that the bakeries could also ship. I think I just need the NE HOs’ help to identify a bakery with a good product. Ps - I don’t know how to dm people on this chat.
@Sasha - I’ve never enjoyed the muffins you speak of, but have some familiarity with Portuguese breads from our times in Hawaii. The bread, and malasadas, specifically.
I looked for recipes in David Leite’s Portuguese cookbook, with no luck, but found a number online. Are you inclined to bake at all? It could be a fun experience with you hopefully ending up with something that’s passable, from what you remember. The recipes I saw looked pretty straightforward, and looked like English Muffins, although I’m sure they taste much different. In any case, that type of bread is pretty easy to make, and could be a fun experiment. Please understand, I have no way of knowing your time constraints or willingness to bake. I do know that muffins of all types have a relatively short time span in which they taste their best.
I actually did try making a recipe of these at home a few months ago, and they really didn’t taste much like my memory at all. I believe I posted it on the baking thread. I might try again, but in awhile. Meantime, I would love to have some shipped. I found a couple of bakeries that will ship, and I’ll probably give them a head to head taste-off.
Yes @Sasha, I seem to remember a fairly recent discussion. Please let us know if you get some shipped, and how they relate to your memories. Wishing you luck! (Can’t help it, but think perhaps more sugar, and eggs added to a generic recipe may possibly do the trick) Could be way off base here though…
I live in Somerville on the Boston line, so not near Fall River, but I googled “Portuguese Bakery Fall River MA” and got several hits for online ordering. I don’t have any personal experience with any of these bakeries, and I don’t know if the online ordering means only pick up or if they ship. Here’s one: https://amaralsbakery.com/#!/about
I know that Portuguese Sweet Bread and Kings Hawaiian Bread are the same thing. The latter now makes a version of “English Muffins” too, and if your order them, has free shipping.
What a cool find. I will add them to my taste test when I get my act together.
Hawaiian malassadas and Portuguese ones are completely different. The Hawaiian ones tend to be like raised donuts, while the traditional Portuguese ones (like in New Bedford where I grew up), are more a fried dough, with sections that are crispy, and some that are fluffy, covered in granulated sugar, best eaten hot. There’s a great Portuguese bakery in Falmouth MA called Mary Ellen’s that makes awesome Bolos (Portuguese sweet muffins).
I’ll look into that bakery, thank you. But I’m not looking for doughnuts at all. Much more like a slightly sweet english muffin. Baked.
Bolos levedos are what you’re talking about. Much closer to an english muffin than a donut, and not at all what I’d describe as either fluffy or crispy.
I’ve tried that recipe. In my hands, it was a fail. Someone more talented may have done better with it. I fully recognize I’m chasing a flavor I haven’t had in 30 yrs, and my memory of it might be wrong. But I’m willing to eat a few more Portuguese muffins trying to find that holy grail :P)
They do have a certain distinctive flavor that’s hard to pin down, I always thought it was some kind of spice. The last ingredient in that recipe is “or 1 teaspoon Sweet Dough Flavor”, which as far as I can see there is no explanation for. That must be the secret!
Also, these are available via Amazon, from a MA bakery. I’m guessing these are the real deal:
“Sweet dough flavor” is sold in the bakery supply business. It’s a liquid that comes in the same type of bottle that vanilla would come in.
We’re spoiled by choices in Portuguese muffins here in Massachusetts so I haven’t tried this product myself. Perhaps someone else from the Boston board has and may be able to weigh in?
Time to report back the results of our family taste test. I mail ordered 3 brands - 2 were from back east - Amarals and the “Three Meal Muffin” and one was King’s Hawaian sweet english muffins (not avail in stores yet). All 3 were toasted, buttered, and quartered. Resounding first place (3 1st place votes, 1 2nd place vote) were the three meal muffin, which, after more detailed inspection of their website, appear to be THE muffin used by THE college resto that I was chasing. However, having graduated 25 yrs ago, I don’t think I remember the flavor of it from back then. These were soft and fluffy, with a hint of sweetness, and could easily be used in a sweet or savory prep. Second place (1 first place, 2 second places, 1 third place) were the King’s Hawaiian. These were very sweet. Not subtle whatsoever. Level of sweetness on par with a lower sugar blueberry muffin. Between the flavor and the shape/size, these looked to be a different beast than the other 2. However, they will be the most accessible universally, as they start selling them in stores. Amarals came in last, with 3 third places and 1 second place. They were dry, and had some type of spice (nutmeg?) undertone that none of us cared for. The one who ranked them 2nd will likely have to finish the rest of the pack! He was also the one who ranked KH third, because they were too sweet.
Other interesting tidbits. Because we liked “3” the best, it was also 2x as expensive as the other 2. $9 per 6pk vs $4 and $5 for KH and A, respectively. However, 3 and KH don’t charge shipping in the US. A charges shipping and here’s what’s really weird. You can get them thru amazon for $5 shipping (to WA), or through their own bakery for $13!!! shipping. To their credit, I complained and they said they would reverse those shipping charges. We shall see.
How great that you reported back. I’m glad that the 3 Meal Muffin was the type you were hoping for.
Seeing your pictures of all the muffins you sampled, by the look of them the 3 Meal type is what I’d expect from a Portuguese muffin. Not that I’m an expert. Just an aficionado of Portuguese bakery items.