Portuguese Sausage, Ham, and Cheese Bread

These sausage, ham, and cheese loaves turn out a hearty, traditional Portuguese bread made with presunto, chouriço, and semi-firm sheep’s milk cheese. The dough can also be made into rolls.

Three presunto and cheese loaves on a wooden cutting board, with one cut into several slices and knife lying beside it.

Every Saturday when I was growing up, my mother would go to the local Portuguese bakery and buy a dozen chouriço rolls—torpedo-shaped logs stuffed with sausage. By Monday, they would be gone, mostly due to me. To dress up my childhood classic, I added presunto and cheese, and sometimes sautéed onions and garlic, to the dough. And I form the rolls into round loaves because I think they look more elegant on the table.–David Leite

What is presunto?

Presunto is dry-cured ham from Portugal. It’s quite similar to prosciutto from Italy and Jamon from Spain and either would make a capable substitution. Just don’t tell anyone from Portugal you did that.

Portuguese Sausage, Ham, and Cheese Bread

  • Quick Glance
  • Quick Glance
  • 45 M
  • 3 H, 10 M
  • Serves 16 | Makes 4 (6-inch) loaves
Print RecipeBuy the The New Portuguese Table cookbook

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In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, dissolve the yeast and sugar in the warm water. Let stand until the liquid is foamy, 8 to 10 minutes.

In a small bowl, whisk 2 of the eggs and add them to the yeast mixture along with the oil. Process on low speed until blended.

Scoop in the flour and salt and mix on medium-low speed, scraping down the bowl once or twice, until a smooth, sticky ball forms, 7 to 10 minutes. Add up to 1/2 cup flour, a little at a time, if needed. It’s okay if it’s still a bit of a sticky, shaggy mess at this point.

Dump the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead a few times, adding more flour if needed, until supple, 3 to 5 minutes.

Flatten the dough into a 12-inch (30-cm) disk, sprinkle with the presunto, chouriço, and cheese, and knead to distribute the pieces evenly. It will seem like a lot of work, but press on.

Place the dough in a large, lightly oiled bowl, turn to coat, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm, draft-free spot until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/4 hours.

Line a rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper and sprinkle it with cornmeal. Lightly dust a work surface with flour, turn the dough out, and knead several times.

Cut the dough into 4 equal portions and shape each portion into a ball. Transfer the balls to the baking sheet and let rise, covered with a towel, until double in size, 45 to 60 minutes.

Meanwhile, crank up the oven to 425°F (218°C) and position a rack in the center of the oven.

Whisk the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon of water and brush the loaves with the mixture. Bake until the loaves are deeply brown and sound hollow when thumped on the bottom, 25 to 30 minutes.

Transfer to a wire rack to cool completely. The loaves will keep for up to 2 days when covered with plastic wrap and refrigerated. But you can’t beat them on the day they’re made.

Print RecipeBuy the The New Portuguese Table cookbook

Want it? Click it.


    • If you’d prefer to make this bread into individual rolls, after the initial rise, break off the dough into 2 1/8-ounce (60-g) chunks and shape them into balls. Proceed with the recipe, adjusting the cooking time to about 18 minutes.

      Portuguese presunto and cheese loaves on a white platter

    Recipe Testers' Reviews

    Both of my grandmothers and my mother used to make linguiça rolls, so I was called to this recipe and I’m so glad I made it. I don’t bake bread as often as I’d like as I’m a little intimidated by yeast, but this was easy even for a yeast-o-phobe like me. I used linguiça, prosciutto, and Manchego cheese, which are easily available for most.

    I had a slice as soon as it was cool enough to handle (slathered with some butter) and the smokiness of the linguiça was very present in the loaf and the Manchego brought a nice tanginess to the bread.

    When kneading the dough after it came out of the mixer, I had to add an additional 1/2 cup or so of flour. I shaped it into a 13-inch disk before adding the meat and cheese. It did take a lot of work to incorporate them.

    It took closer to 30 minutes to bake the loaves. I served them along with dinner, but can’t wait to have some in the morning with eggs.

    These were easy to make, fun to eat, and generous in terms of yield and creative uses. (Four hearty loaves for 25 minutes of hands-on time is an exceptionally good return on investment in my book!)

    I added the maximum suggested amount of flour and although it still didn’t ball up, I trusted that the dough would even itself out during the subsequent hand-kneading, and indeed it did. The first rising, the shaping, and the second rising all proceeded as planned and the loaves baked up quickly with an even, golden crust.

    We had plump wedges with a spicy and piquant red sauce pasta dish, which the richness of the bread complemented perfectly. I could also see this as a fantastic choice for sandwiches, as well as a great tartine base when toasted and topped with shrimp or egg salad or sliced summer tomatoes. Extra loaves can be easily frozen…or better yet, shared with neighbors & friends.


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    1. I plan to try this recipe — but — I am rather surprised that the flour amount is in VOLUME measurement not by weight (or both). Having baked for — well — a while — I found out that weight measurements for baking are the way to go. Any chance you can update the recipe to include the flour by weight (and also of course volume)?

      Also — perhaps as a “rule” for LC — maybe all baking type recipes should use weight/volume combo going forward? Does make a huge different in my opinion (and almost the whole baking community from I can tell).

      Onwards and upwards to 2021!


      1. Thanks, Steven. We do have weight measurements for all of our recipes. If you click on the US/Metric toggle at the top of the ingredients list, you should see the weights for all of the ingredients. Happy baking!

      1. Anthony, I don’t see why not. I’ve never done it. Now, this isn’t a crusty bread. It’s a soft enriched loaf, so you want to make sure you don’t use heat higher than the recipe calls for.

    2. A question, actually. Would it be possible to continue with the dough hook to add and distribute the cheese and meat? Arthritic hands make kneading too difficult these days and I’d like to make this bread. No-knead breads are very popular with me, but I’m really eager to give this one a try.

    3. This is similar to folar, a meat stuffed bread that we purchase at the Ludlow Central Bakery (Ludlow, MA). They don’t put cheese in theirs. I’ve been trying to replicate it at home for years so it will be fun to try this recipe!

      1. Jackie, yes, the great folars de Chaves. You can stuff it with more meat and cheese, but this is just about to bursting. And you can make it in individual rolls, as I show in the picture at the bottom, or oval loaves.

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