Saturday, April 3, 2010

Babka, Polish Easter Bread

151. Easter baking is a family tradition and one I most enjoy! This year I decided to make "Babka" which is a European bread enjoyed by many. A Babka recipe is as various as there are bakers. And every family has "The Best" Babka recipe. I found this recipe on Poland: Memories of a Polish Easter
It was wonderful reading and learning about Polish customs kept by other families.
I used my bread machine to mix the dough and it turned out beautifully. The key with using a bread machine is that you add all the liquid to the bottom of the bread pan and the salt. Then you add all the flour and other dry ingredients ending with the yeast. The dough is extravagantly wonderful to work with. And the flavor was outstanding.

Easter Babka

1-1/4 cups lukewarm milk
2 packages active dry yeast
6 tablespoons sugar
6 to 6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 teaspoon salt
10 egg yolks (I substituted 5 eggs)
3/4 lb plus 2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 cup white seedless raisins
2 tablespoons finely grated orange peel
1 tablespoon finely grated lemon peel

(I added Rum extract)

White Icing
2 cups confecioner's sugar
1/4 cup cold water
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice

Pour the lukewarm milk into a small bowl and sprinkle it with the yeast and add 1/2 teaspoon of the sugar. Let the mixture stand for 2 or 3 minutes, then stir to dissolve the yeast completely. Set the bowl in a warm draft free place for about 10-15 minutes, or until the mixture doubles in size.

Place the 6 cups of flour and the remaining sugar and the salt in a deep mixing bowl and make a well in the center. Pour the yeast mixture into the center and the egg yolks, and with a large spoon, gradually stir in the flour into the liquid ingredients. Continue to stir until well mixed, and then beat in 3/4 lbs of butter a few tablespoonfuls at a time. The dough should be firm enough to to be gathered into a medium soft ball. If you have to, stir in about 1/2 cups more of flour, but add it by the tablespoons.

Transfer the dough to a electric mixer equipped with a kneading hook and knead for about 20 minutes, or until the dough is very smooth, or knead the dough by hand for about 40 minutes.

Shape the dough into a ball, place it in a lightly buttered bowl and dust the top with flour. Drape a towel over the bowl and set it aside in a draft free place for about 1 hour, or until the dough doubles in size. With a pastry brush, spread the 2 tablespoons of softened butter over the bottom and the sides of a 12 inch tube pan or a turban mold. Sprinkle the butter with the remianing 1/4 cup of flour and tip the pan form side to side to spead it evenly. Remove the excess flour from the pan.

Punch the dough down and then knead the raisins, orange peel and lemon peel. Pat the dough evenly over the bottom of the buttered and floured mold, drape with a towel, and set aside for another hour, or until the dough has doubled in size. Almost to the top of the mold.

Preheat the oven to 375 degrees F and bake the cake in the middle of the oven for about 40 minutes, or until it is golden brown. Turn the cake out onto a cake rack and let it cool.

In a small bowl, combine the confectioners sugar, water and lemon juice, and beat with a spoon until it is smooth. Pour the icing slowly over the top of the warm cake. Allow it to run down the sides.

Let the Babka cool at room temperature before serving.

"Business underlies everything in our national life, including our spiritual life. Witness the fact that in the Lord's Prayer, the first petition is for daily bread. No one can worship God or love his neighbor on an empty stomach."
~ Woodrow Wilson

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

Hi Lilly! I was so happy to have you visit! It was a glorious Easter...after all that rain, a miracle!
Mike makes the Babka..I just enjoy it!
Hope all is well!


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