Portuguese Bread-Making in Hawaii

6662219Portuguese immigrants to Hawaii were known for their great bread making, specifically the knowledge they brought with them on how to build the stone ovens in which they baked the bread.   “32 loaves at a time are inserted into the oven and soon emerge golden, crispy crusted on the outside and moist on the inside. The bread has a light, smoky flavor that has our customers coming back for more. The same is true of our Cinnamon Bread which does not last very long once it is baked.”  –Maui Portuguese Cultural Club web site at http://www.mauiportugueseculturalclub.com/community.html

On the island of Maui, I was able to see three stone ovens that are specifically attributed to the Portuguese; only one of them is actively used, the one used by the Maui Portuguese Cultural Club.

5037472“Our main means of fundraising is through the baking of Portuguese White Bread made and baked in a traditional Stone oven. Our members gather to make the “masa” that are formed into individual rolls or “bolingas”. Also shared at these monthly, bread making, gatherings are oral traditions passed on to the new generation of Portuguese members of what their parents did to preserve their culture. Portuguese words and phrases are learned in this way and eagerly absorbed by the younger generation who did not learn the language as the older ones did.”

-Sonia Pacheco, Librarian Archivist for the Ferreira-Mendes Portuguese-American Archives, UMass Dartmouth Library

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