Bolo Rei (King’s Bread)

Bolo Rei is a typical Portuguese bread which is eaten traditionally between Christmas, New Year’s Day and even until the Epiphany (The Three Kings’ Day, which is the 6th of January).

Its name alludes to the Three Wise Men who visited new born Jesus and brought him gifts. The bread has a round shape with a hole in the centre. It consists of a sweet dough mixed with raisins, dry nuts and candied fruits.


– 600 gr flour

– 150 gr margarine

– 100 gr sugar

– 50 gr diced candied fruit

– 50 gr chopped walnuts

– 50 gr shopped almonds

– 50 gr raisins

– 35 gr yeast

– 4 eggs

– 100 ml milk

– 1 small glass of brandy

– lemon and orange zest

– teaspoon of salt

– To top the bread: candied fruits, walnuts, raisins, almonds, powdered sugar, egg for brushing


  1. Dissolve the yeast in some warm water, add some flour, roll up into a ball and let it sit for about one hour;
  2. Put the rest of the flour on a flat surface, open a hole in the centre and in it place the eggs, the warm milk, the melted margarine, the lemon and orange zests, the sugar, the brandy and the salt. Incorporate all the ingredients well, add the yeast ball and mix and knead everything well. Place this dough into a bowl and let it sit for about 2 hours until it rises to about double the size (in a place where the temperature should be around 30/35º C).
  3. After the dough has risen, mix and knead it again, adding the candied fruit, the walnuts, the almonds and the raisins. Let it sit for another hour.
  4. Next, divide the dough into two equal portions, shape each one into a ring and lay them into trays which were previously powdered with flour. Brush them with a beaten egg and decorate with more candied fruit, raisins, walnuts and almonds. Let the breads sit for 15 more minutes.
  5. Finalize the decoration with portions of powdered sugar and put into pre-heated oven at 180º C, for 15 to 20 minutes. After removing from oven, decorate with some more powdered sugar and let them cool.

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