Portuguese Easter Bread

This Portuguese Easter Bread recipe makes 2 beautiful loaves; one for you and one for the neighbors. This also makes the most phenomenal french toast.

This recipe makes 2 beautiful loaves; one for you and one for the neighbors. My friend and fellow nursing student, Annie, shared this recipe with me. It’s a very close match to Ukrainian Easter Bread; kinda like a paska, and it’s not too difficult to make.

It does create a base for the most phenomenal french toast (click here for the french toast recipe). Back to this beautiful and sweet Easter bread. I made a 4-strand braid which my Mom had to demonstrate for me several times with towels, so I’ll try my best to explain it. If it doesn’t make any sense to you, by all means, make a regular 3-strander and pardon my attempt at artsy fartsy.

I mixed  a bunch of white raisins into dough which added a nice contrast to the sweetness of the bread.  It may be a great way to share the love of Christ and good news of what Easter is all about.

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Ingredients for Sweet Easter Bread:

1 and 1/2 Cups very warm milk
1 cup white sugar + 1 tsp sugar
1/2 cup (8 Tbsp) unsalted butter, softened
1 tsp salt
2 envelopes active dry yeast (1 and 1/2 Tbsp)
3 eggs, well beaten
6 1/2 Cups unsifted all-purpose flour *measured correctly
1 egg
1 tsp water
3/4 cup to 1 cup white or brown raisins +  2 cups boiling water

How to Make Sweet Easter Bread

1. Place 1 cup white or brown raisins in a bowl with 2 cups boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain well and set the raisins aside.

2. Pour 1/2 cup warm milk (heated 30 seconds in micro) into a large measuring cup. Add 1 tsp sugar and sprinkle yeast over the top. Stir and let it stand to proof until bubbly and doubled in volume, about 10 minutes.

3. Combine 1 Cup of very warm milk (1 minute in micro), with the 1 Cup sugar, softened butter and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl. Stir until most of the butter is melted.

4. Stir in 3 well-beaten eggs, then yeast mixture into the butter mixture. Using the dough hook attachment (or a wooden spoon if mixing by hand), Beat in 6 1/2 cups flour, one cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Knead for 8-12 minutes or until smooth and elastic.

Dough will still be  a little sticky and will stick to the bowl, but should not stick to your fingers. If kneading by hand, turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead 8-12 minutes (using only enough flour necessary to prevent sticking to your hands).

5. Stir in the raisins until evenly distributed. Transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl, turning it to bring the buttered side up. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place, away from draft, about 1 and 1/2 hours or until double in volume.

(I set my oven to low, then turned it off and let the dough sit in a warm oven; about 100°F).

6. Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half. Divide one half into four equal pieces and form about 15″ strips with each quarter.

7. Pinch the four strips together on one end and let the braiding begin

8. Cross the far right strip over it’s neighbor.

9. Tuck the far left strip under it’s neighbor and over the next strip. Repeat step 8 & 9 until you finish the braid, then pinch together the other end.

10. Place each braid in a buttered baking dish (the would have expanded even better if I had used a large baking pan). Cover loosely with a towel and let them sit for 30 minutes.

11. After the braids have been sitting for 30 minutes, now pre-heat the oven to 375 °F. It’s hard to tell, but they did rise!

12. Beat together 1 egg and 1 tsp water. Generously brush the top and sides of the bread with the egg mix just before baking.

13. Bake each loaf separately for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown

Happy Easter!! Is there something special you are planning to cook or bake this Easter? I’d love to hear about your traditions!

Portuguese Easter Bread

5 from 7 votes
Prep Time: 3 hours
Cook Time: 22 minutes
Total Time: 3 hours 22 minutes
This Portuguese Easter Bread recipe makes 2 beautiful loaves; one for you and one for the neighbors. This also makes the most phenomenal french toast.
Author: Natasha of NatashasKitchen.com
Skill Level: Medium
Cost to Make: $6
Servings: 10

Ingredients

  • 1 and 1/2 Cups very warm milk
  • 1 cup white sugar + 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/2 cup 8 Tbsp unsalted butter, softened
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 2 envelopes active dry yeast 1 and 1/2 Tbsp
  • 3 eggs well beaten
  • 6 1/2 Cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 tsp water
  • 3/4 cup to 1 cup white or brown raisins + 2 cups boiling water

Instructions

  1. Place 1 cup white or brown raisins in a bowl with 2 cups boiling water for 10 minutes. Drain well and set the raisins aside.
  2. Pour 1/2 cup warm milk (heated 30 seconds in micro) into a large measuring cup. Add 1 tsp sugar and sprinkle yeast over the top. Stir and let it stand to proof until bubbly and doubled in volume, about 10 minutes.
  3. Combine 1 Cup of very warm milk (1 minute in micro), with the 1 Cup sugar, softened butter and 1 tsp salt in a large bowl. Stir until most of the butter is melted.
  4. Stir in 3 well-beaten eggs, then yeast mixture into the butter mixture. Using the dough hook attachment (or a wooden spoon if mixing by hand), Beat in 6 1/2 cups flour, one cup at a time until a soft dough forms. Knead for 8-12 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Dough will still be a little sticky and will stick to the bowl, but should not stick to your fingers. If kneading by hand, turn out onto a well-floured surface and knead 8-12 minutes (using only enough flour necessary to prevent sticking to your hands).
  5. Stir in the raisins until evenly distributed.
  6. Transfer the dough to a large buttered bowl, turning it to bring the buttered side up. Cover with a tea towel and let rise in a warm place, away from draft, about 1 and 1/2 hours or until double in volume. (I set my oven to low, then turned it off and let the dough sit in a warm oven; about 100 degrees F).
  7. Punch dough down. Tur out onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough in half. Divide one half into four equal pieces and form about 15" strips with each quarter.
  8. Pinch the four strips together on one end and let the braiding begin!
  9. Cross the far right strip over it's neighbor.
  10. Tuck the far left strip under it's neighbor and over the next strip. Repeat steps until you finish the braid, then pinch together the other end.
  11. Place each braid in a buttered baking dish (the would have expanded even better if I had used a large baking pan). Cover loosely with a towel and let them sit for 30 minutes.
  12. After the braids have been sitting for 30 minutes, now pre-heat the oven to 375°F.
  13. Beat together 1 egg and 1 tsp water. Generously brush the top and sides of the bread with the egg mix just before baking.
  14. Bake each loaf separately for 20-22 minutes or until golden brown.

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natashaskitchen

Welcome to my kitchen! I am Natasha, the blogger behind Natasha's Kitchen (since 2009). My husband and I run this blog together and share only our best, family approved recipes with YOU. Thanks for stopping by! We are so happy you're here.

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Read comments/reviewsAdd comment/review

  • Mary
    April 7, 2018

    I made your baklava for Easter and it was to die for, and easy to make (with a second set of hands).

    Made the braided bread loaves today and they Are so delicious. Thanks for perfectly tested and written recipes! Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 7, 2018

      I’m happy to hear how much you’re enjoying the recipes Mary! Thanks for following and sharing your wonderful reviews! Reply

  • Christine
    February 26, 2018

    Could this be made in loaf pans? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 27, 2018

      Hi Christine, I think that would work well. I haven’t tested it myself so I’m not sure if it would fill 3 pans or 4. If you experiment, let me know how it goes 🙂 Reply

  • Marimar
    July 27, 2017

    I made it is delicious, again all your recipe are perfect!!!. I never have doubts when I start to make any of your recipes, they never fail Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      July 27, 2017

      Thank you so much! I’m happy to hear how much you are enjoying the recipes! Thanks for following and sharing your fantastic review! 😀 Reply

  • Marimar
    July 25, 2017

    Can keep the dough in the refrigerator? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      July 25, 2017

      Hi Marimar, I haven’t tried that but I imagine you could and then just bring it back to room temp to rise before baking. Reply

  • Alena V
    April 16, 2017

    Made this for Easter today and it turned out amazing! I’m usually such a chicken when it comes to making bread but this turned out so great!!

    Thank you!!

    -Alena Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 17, 2017

      You’re welcome! I’m glad to hear that! 😀 Reply

  • Peggy Walters
    April 15, 2017

    I remember having this Portuguese Sweet Bread made into French toast when we were in Hawaii!! I couldn’t get enough of it!! Thanks for the recipe, I can’t wait to try it. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 15, 2017

      So you already know!! It is just amazing and such a treat! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha's Kitchen
      April 15, 2017

      You’re welcome Peggy! Please let me know what you think! Reply

  • Alena
    April 11, 2017

    Hi Natasha 🙂
    Do you think small paski would work out of this recipe if I divide the dough in muffin cups? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 12, 2017

      Hi Alena, this recipe for smaller Easter breads is basically the same recipe made into smaller breads which will probably help you with bake times if you make them about the same size. I think it would work in larger muffin cups. The smaller cup-cake size would need a shorter bake time. Reply

  • Ashley
    November 13, 2016

    I was planning on making this bread for your French toast recipe for overnight guests during thanksgiving, can I make the bread ahead of time and freeze it? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 13, 2016

      Hi Ashley, I think that would work! Freeze it soon after it is completely at room temperature. The sooner you freeze it after it’s made, the fresher it will taste when you thaw the bread 🙂 Reply

  • MASHA VELIKODNYY
    September 15, 2016

    i didnt really understand the instructions of step #14
    did i just need to bake them seperately as in seperate dishes or actually one at a time?
    well kz at 22 minutes they werent even close to the color so i kept them in longer
    they turned out beautiful tho and my husband loved it he just kept cutting it and cutting it haha i was happy
    thank you for the great recipe
    definetly impressed some people and definetly one ill come back to 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 15, 2016

      Hi Masha, I bake them separately meaning I bake one and then bake the other. If you bake them together, they would need more time to bake. Did you bake them together in the oven? Reply

  • Olga B
    April 22, 2016

    Delicious bread!!! i made it 3 times and always turned out Perfect! now its our family favorite! thanks for sharing this recipe! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 22, 2016

      Thank you for such a nice review Olga, looks like you have a new favorite 😀. Reply

  • Tanya Fedas
    March 26, 2016

    Very easy to make! Not only were they delicious but also very pretty. Thank you! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 27, 2016

      Thank you so much for sharing your awesome review! 🙂 Reply

  • T. Cummins
    March 26, 2016

    Just made this Easter bread and it turned out beautifully just like the picture. I don’t like raisins in my bread and left them out. In the past I have also added eggs but they become difficult to remove from the baked bread making a mess so I left them out too. The bread is light and sweet! Delicious! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 26, 2016

      I’m so happy to hear that! Thank you for sharing your great review! Reply

  • Terry Masino
    March 16, 2016

    I have a recipe that uses mashed potatoes …can I use here…fora Portugese bread…can’t find my recipe…pls. help… Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 16, 2016

      I’m not sure what you’re asking. Which recipe are you looking for? Reply

  • jessica
    April 7, 2015

    Natasha, thank you so much for posting this delicious recipe. My husband approved, and even my mother in law! And she is a tough one to impress 😉 thank you again for all your hard work! And the toast. Omg. Definitely will make again 😀 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 7, 2015

      Jessica, thank you for such a great review, I’m honored, enjoy :). Reply

  • Lena
    April 3, 2015

    SuPPPer GOOD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 3, 2015

      I’m so glad you liked it! 🙂 Reply

  • Anya
    September 24, 2014

    I just love you , Natasha! Thank you for all your hard work and all your time for posting amazing recipes that are so easy to follow. You are my favorite and never disappoint 😉 I made this bread today and my husband ate half of it  Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      September 24, 2014

      Wow, half?! Now that is impressive! lol. Thanks for your nice comment. 🙂 Reply

  • Athena
    August 15, 2014

    Can you leave out the raisins in this recipe? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      August 15, 2014

      Yes it would still work well without them. Reply

  • Grace Dias
    April 26, 2014

    Thank you four the recipe! I just tried it and it came out great. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 26, 2014

      You’re welcome! I’m so happy you loved the bread 🙂 Reply

  • stephanie
    March 17, 2014

    Are the raisins required? thanks Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 17, 2014

      You don’t have to put them in. I like the little bit of tang they add, but they can be omitted 🙂 Reply

      • stephanie
        March 17, 2014

        thank you Reply

  • Alyanka
    January 21, 2014

    hi, this looks amazing and i would like to try it…but before i do i have a ridiculous question about 2 envelopes dry yeast, how much is exactly it is and on the picture it looks like it turned 2 breads…what if i do half recipe..? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 21, 2014

      2 envelopes of active dry yeast will yield 1 and 1/2 Tbsp, so just cut than in half if making 1 loaf. Hope this helps :). Reply

  • oksana
    November 25, 2013

    i have a question. can i make this without the raisins? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      November 25, 2013

      Yes, you can 🙂 Reply

  • Odnoj
    June 2, 2013

    Hi Natasha, thanks for the great recipes. Do you have a recipe for the Russian bulochki? Used to buy them from a russian bakery when I was little. I never forget the scent of the freshly baked raisin bulochki. Reply

  • Vera
    April 4, 2013

    Natasha these look amazing. We only buy Canadian flour will it work for this recipe? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 4, 2013

      Yes, Canadian flour will work as well :). Reply

  • Oksana
    April 3, 2013

    Made this for Easter (posted pictures on Instagram) and it was absolutely delicious! Thank you for such an amazing recipe! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 3, 2013

      I think I remember seeing it. What’s your instagram screen name so I can make sure I didn’t miss it! Reply

  • Mandy
    March 11, 2013

    Normally when I bake bread, I refrigerate over night, remove in the morning, shape and let rise, then bake. I find the flavour is much more intense and the gluten gets a chance to relax further. Would there be any reason why I cannot do this with my Paska?
    Thanks 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 11, 2013

      I haven’t tried it with paska so I can’t say for sure, but if you try it, let me now how it turns out. Reply

      • Mandy
        March 14, 2013

        Foot note to my refrigerated paska; Best batch yet!!! Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          March 14, 2013

          Great, I’m glad you like it Mandy :). Reply

  • Oksana B.
    February 11, 2013

    One more queation regarding this recipe – do you think I could bake these two loaves of bread close side by side (not touching each other) on a large 16×22 baking sheet? Or do they specifically need to be baked in separate sheets? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 12, 2013

      You should be able to bake them on the same sheet, they might end up touch each other at the end but that’s ok :). Reply

  • Adriana
    February 7, 2013

    WOW…. i have never read the directions to making bread before that made me feel like i could do it all by myself. The way you explained it and the pictures makes it seem so simple. I’m actually considering making this bread, because it sure looks totally awesome!! Thank you for taking the time to be so detailed! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 7, 2013

      You are welcome Adriana, most of us are visual learners and detailed photo instructions are much easier to understand than just reading text :). Reply

  • Oksana B.
    February 5, 2013

    Thank you! I also would like to ask you if you have a good Paskxa recipe! Easter will be here before we know it and I would like to make one for my family but do not have any idea how to make it! 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 5, 2013

      It’s on my to-do list Oksana, keep checking 🙂 Reply

  • Oksana B.
    February 4, 2013

    Natashenka what size baking sheets did you use? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      February 4, 2013

      They were 13×9, but you can also use cookie baking sheets. Reply

  • Agne
    January 5, 2013

    Thank you for all your recipes! They are amazing. I am about to make the dough and noticed I only have rapid dry yeast at home. Would I use it the same way or should I make any adjustments to the recipe? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      January 5, 2013

      Thank you :). I actually have never worked with rapid dry yeast before. After searching Google, I found that they work the same way but rapid yeast takes much less time to rise. Also they suggest not to substitute one with another unless you like to experiment. you can google for “active dry yeast vs rapid rise”. Reply

  • svetlana
    April 13, 2012

    hello Natasha! for a long time i was looking for good and easy recipe and i love yours.i have a different recipe of “paska” bread ,i call it raising bread if you are interested in it tell me.thank you,i love your site. God bless you.Svetlana Reply

  • Zina
    April 6, 2012

    My kitchenaid groaned a bit during the kneading phase….but the old gal made it through! The breads came out beautiful and a nice alternative to Kulich. I still haven’t found my perfect Kulich recipe, but instead the Portuguese Easter Bread is a lovely addition to the Easter table. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 6, 2012

      Do you have a 5 or 6 quart? You are the second person that said your kitchenaid struggled to mix it. Hmmm…. It can be done by hand also, but who wants to do that?? Reply

  • Annie
    April 4, 2012

    Technically, the recipe in the braid form is not Portuguese Easter Bread. It is only Portuguese when it is arranged in the form of a bun with the boiled egg in the middle and the cross over it. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 4, 2012

      Oooh, good to know! I will probably post it that way next year for Easter. I just loved the symbolism you explained to us! Annie, thanks again for the recipe! Reply

  • Tanya
    April 3, 2012

    Love your blog! Love the step-by-step pictures and clear instructions. Made it very easy to make this Easter Bread today… you had it sold at the words “base for the most phenomenal french toast”. Who doesn’t love french toast?! Im not a big raisins fan so I used cranberries instead. Other than that little change, kept everything the same. Thanks a bunch and Happy Easter to you and your family 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      April 3, 2012

      Oh Cranberries sound wonderful!! I hope you enjoy it (and the french toast)!! 🙂 Reply

  • March 31, 2012

    Looks good and I loved the braiding tips. I don’t bake much but I’m thinking about giving it a try for Easter. Beau Reply

  • March 30, 2012

    This is awesome. I really love this sweet bread, but never tried making it my self.I will definitely try making it.And yes its great for toast. Reply

  • Chris
    March 30, 2012

    First time caller, long time listener =)
    I made your Portuguese Easter Bread recipe last night after the gym and loved it! Such a treat! Although I gotta tell ya, my KitchenAid was not happy about it. He heard about the 8-12 minutes of kneading the dough and said nuh uh, ain’t No Way I’m crankin that dough for 12 minutes, you crazy. He made it though not without leaving the last 2 minutes for me to knead the raisins by hand LOL.
    I love your blog and kudos to your husband for taking the time and the wonderful pictures. True to form, the steps are right on. One suggestion from my own experience, add a small loaf pan in the oven during pre heat, then just before adding the bread, place two cups boiling water in the pan on the lower rack and place your bread on the top rack. Makes a great proof box.
    Love your family’s passion for keeping things wholesome and simple.
    All the best with school and life,
    Chris
    P.S. – Making the french toast tomorrow. Thank you so much for the quick update to your blog today. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 30, 2012

      Hi Chris! Really? Even with the dough hook attachment? Hmmm, I’ve never heard of a lazy KitchenAid!! 🙂 < -- don't let him read that. Make sure you thank him for saving you 8-10 minutes of kneading by hand. I'm glad you liked the Easter Bread and thanks for the tip! Reply

  • March 29, 2012

    Thank you for the recipe, I showed it to my mom and we decided to make it for Easter 🙂 She’s also a big fan of your blog 🙂 Reply

  • March 29, 2012

    Oh, you stirred my memories! My grandma used to make these bulachkas. Looks really good, I love it! Reply

  • luda
    March 29, 2012

    Great job natasha! looks wonderful! I will def have to make this, I dont think it should be a problem if i add more raisins right? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 29, 2012

      The photos have 1/2 cup raisins but I increased the recipe to read 3/4 cup to 1 cup because I thought it needed more. I love more raisins too and I think it should be fine as long as you don’t go way overboard, otherwise it may be difficult to braid your bread 🙂 Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 29, 2012

      Luda, did you get my email about the chocolate sausage? I loved it!! I did have to put it in the freezer to set better, but it’s so tasty. Thank you!! Reply

      • luda
        March 29, 2012

        oh really? you did it already? thats great im glad you loved it, we love it too. i havent checked my email for awhile lol. i wonder why you had to put in the freezer because i gave the recepie to my sister in law too and she had to do that too but mine sets perfectly in the fridge. hmmm interesting, maybe too much butter? try to do it wih 1/3 piece of butter instead of 1/2 of the last stick…

        oh you increased the amount already, ok i’ll do it your way, maybe the pics look like there isnt alot because you used the white raisins. Reply

        • Natasha
          natashaskitchen
          March 29, 2012

          It’s kinda nice in the freezer since it’s faster! 🙂 But it does taste really good! I just received your email. Thank you so much!! Now I’m going to go eat some more chocolate sausage. It’s a dangerous recipe because I have a ton of it and am tempted to keep eating it!! Reply

  • Absolutely gorgeous! You did an amazing job! I plan on baking all kinds of yeast breads before Easter. It always brings warm feelings for me, since I love Easter and the victorious, triumphant celebration of what Christ did for all of us. The bread looks delicious, and I’m sure the French Toast is awesome too, one of my favorite breakfasts, by the way. Thanks for posting this. Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 28, 2012

      Olga, I can’t wait to see what you’ve got up your sleeve for Easter. You are one creative lady! 🙂 You said it best; Easter is a triumphant celebration of what Christ did for all of us! Hope you have a blessed and wonderful Easter!! Next Easter you’ll be celebrating with your two children. God bless you dear! Reply

  • Alina
    March 28, 2012

    Thank you so much!!! It’s soooo good! I just made them and we can’t stay away! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 28, 2012

      Yay!! So glad you like it. It makes fantastic french toast the next day! Reply

  • Natalie
    March 28, 2012

    Thanks for posting! Reply

  • Elena
    March 28, 2012

    Do you have any recipes for Paska? Or u can use this dough but in a traditional form with egg whites topping? Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 28, 2012

      I haven’t tried in a traditional form. I’ve tried the full batch of dough in a springform pan and although it looked nice on the outside, it didn’t rise well on the inside and there was a big gap inside. Someone sent me a recipe for the traditional paska and I also have one from my mama-in-law, but I’m not sure I will have time to make it before Easter. I’ll try, but no promises. 🙂 Reply

  • Kathy
    March 28, 2012

    I really like your step by step photo/instructions. Very helpful. I make an Easter bread every year for my family, from a recipe that has been handed down from my Baba. It is very good, so I will be making it and I am going to try this recipe as well. MMM! Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 28, 2012

      That’s so awesome to have traditions like that! Reply

  • Emma
    March 28, 2012

    looks really good! Def got 2 try. thanx 4 the post Reply

    • Natasha
      natashaskitchen
      March 28, 2012

      You are very welcome! 🙂 Reply

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