Every year on January 20, Santa Maria da Feira plays host to the great Fogaceiras Festival. Fogaça is the traditional sweet bread of the region (although it is sold in many more places), which is shaped like the castle keep, complete with its curtain wall and four towers.
It is a sweet bread that you bring as a gift when visiting friends and family. Dating back more than 500 years, the Fogaceiras Festival conveys the community’s tribute to Saint Sebastian, who rid the region of plague.
And according to legend, the tradition was neglected for four years and the plague returned! That is why the people still pay tribute to this day! So, every year on January 20, the fogaça is delivered to the saint.
For the yeast 200g flour 150 ml warm water 50g baker’s yeast
For the dough 600 g wheat flour 4 eggs (3 for mixing and one for brushing) 150 g sugar 120 g butter Cinnamon to taste 10 g salt 1 lemon: juice and zest
Dissolve the yeast in warm water and add flour to make a soft dough. Let rise for 15 minutes if the surrounding environment is mild.
Add the eggs, sieved sugar, cinnamon, butter, salt, lemon juice and zest and enough flour to produce a dough that is a little more consistent than that of bread.
Leave it to ferment for 30 minutes, or enough time for the dough to double in volume.
Cut pieces of dough to the size you want to make the fogaça and shape them into a long roll.
Start rolling the wider side to create a pyramid.
As they are rolled, place the pyramids on a tray lined with a flour-sprinkled cloth, on which the dough will continue to rise(for 30–60 minutes).
Line the fogaças up on the oven peel and brush them with beaten egg.
Using scissors, make four cuts to the top of each pyramid to create the four towers of the castle keep.
Place the fogaças in a very hot oven.
After 15 minutes, remove them from the oven (using the peel) and separate the “castle’s towers” by hand to allow the heat to penetrate the inside of the fogaças and ensure they bake evenly.
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