The real reason I flew to Kona last week was to bake bread.
Every Thursday the Kona Historical Society demonstrates how Portuguese immigrants baked bread in a large wood-fired stone forno built several years ago on its pasture. Visitors can help roll out the dough and prepare it for baking in the traditional stone oven. The loaves — white, whole wheat and, of course, sweet bread — are sold later that day for $7 each.
Not only do you learn a little bit about the Portuguese heritage in Kona, you get to take home some of the best sweet bread you’re ever going to eat. (See recipe below.)
It got me thinking: There’s a lot to learn about our hometowns, whether you live in Kankakee, Ill. or Kona, Hawaii.
So we drove around and visited a lot of little shops and places that are a part of Kona’s history.
Here’s what my second (and last) day in Kona looked like:
Bread baking today
Portuguese Sweet Bread
From the Kona Historical Society
Mix together in a big bowl:
2 cups warm water
4 pkg. dry yeast
Then stir in:
2 cups sugar
2 sticks melted butter
Stir in, one cup at a time:
8 cups bread flour
Stir in up to 2 more cups of flour as needed to make a soft dough. When the dough is too difficult to stir, turn dough out on a floured table and knead in the rest of the flour for about 3-5 minutes. Add more flour if needed to keep the dough from sticking to the table. Put the dough back in the bowl and cover it until it has doubled in size (about 1 hour). Punch the dough down and form into 4 equal sized loaves. Pinch off 7 equal pieces of dough from each loaf, roll and place in greased 9-inch round aluminum pans. Let the dough rise again until doubled in size (about 1 hour) and brush with egg wash (1 egg mixed with 2 Tbsp. water). Bake in a 400-degree oven for about 20-30 minutes.
Recipes makes four loaves.