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Half of my heritage is Polish - coming from my dad. There weren't many Polish food traditions growing up so I tried to create this one for Easter. I learned about babka (pronounced 'bob-ka') when I went to Greenpoint, the Polish neighborhood in Brooklyn, to explore the grocery and candy stores and delis. I came back excited to hear from my dad if he had babka at Easter growing up and how it was made. Similar to the Italian panettone or the German stollen served at Christmas, this Polish version is a yeast bread with citrus and raisins that has many different variations - some with nuts, some sweeter, different icings, etc. He said his mother made it very plainly with a simple lemon icing. And that's the way I've been doing my Polish Easter Babka ever since. I've modified this recipe slightly cutting down on the 10 egg yolks (yes, 10!), butter and sugar to lighten it and make it at least a bit more healthy (but don't fool yourself, this is no health food). The double rise is time-consuming, but absolutely critical for a fluffy, buttery texture. Enjoy this bread as you would a coffee cake after Easter dinner or toast it for breakfast.
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Polish Easter Babka

April 4, 2010

30 min or less active, bread, dessert, fall, spring, summer, winter

Half of my heritage is Polish - coming from my dad. There weren't many Polish food traditions growing up so I tried to create this one for Easter. I learned about babka (pronounced 'bob-ka') when I went to Greenpoint, the Polish neighborhood in Brooklyn, to explore the grocery and candy stores and delis. I came back excited to hear from my dad if he had babka at Easter growing up and how it was made. Similar to the Italian panettone or the German stollen served at Christmas, this Polish version is a yeast bread with citrus and raisins that has many different variations - some with nuts, some sweeter, different icings, etc. He said his mother made it very plainly with a simple lemon icing. And that's the way I've been doing my Polish Easter Babka ever since. I've modified this recipe slightly cutting down on the 10 egg yolks (yes, 10!), butter and sugar to lighten it and make it at least a bit more healthy (but don't fool yourself, this is no health food). The double rise is time-consuming, but absolutely critical for a fluffy, buttery texture. Enjoy this bread as you would a coffee cake after Easter dinner or toast it for breakfast.
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Information

Servings: 16 slices
Time: 20 minutes active; about 3 hours total
Price: ~$9.55 total; ~$0.60 per serving
Nutrition (per serving):
Calories: 285.2
Protein: 5.8g
Fat: 5.8g
Saturated fat: 5.8g
Carbohydrates: 43.3g
Fiber: 0.91g
Sodium: 90.2mg
Cholesterol: 63.1mg
High In:
Good Source:
Low In:

Ingredients

  • 1 1/4 cup soy milk, heated to 100-110 degrees
  • 2 packets (4 1/2 tsp) yeast
  • 6T plus 1/2 tsp sugar, divided
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (the real stuff)
  • 3 eggs
  • 1 1/2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
  • 4 1/4 flour, divided
  • 1 cup golden raisins
  • grated peel from one lemon and one orange
  • 2/3 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 Tbsp lemon juice (from 1/2 lemon)
  • 1 Tbsp hot water

Preparation

  1. Put milk, yeast, 1/2 tsp sugar and salt in the bowl of a stand mixer. Whisk until yeast is dissolved and let sit 3 minutes. Affix the paddle attachment and add the other liquid ingredients: vanilla, eggs and butter and beat on low speed until mixed.The yeast will start bubbling and gurgling.All the wet ingredients are incorporated.
  2. Add 4 cups of flour, one cup at a time, until well incorporated. Fold in raisins and citrus peel on low speed.
  3. Change to dough hook and knead for 10 minutes on low speed. Meanwhile spray a large bowl with cooking spray. When the dough is done kneading, put it in the bowl and turn to coat it. Sprinkle with remaining 1/4 cup flour, cover with a kitchen towel and put it a warm, draft-free location. Let rise for 1 hour.The dough hook will smooth the bread, but be careful not to knead more than 10 minutes or the bread may toughen.In the bowl before the first rise.After the first rise; you can see how it is growing.
  4. Spray a bundt pan with cooking spray and when the first rise is complete, transfer the dough to the pan. Cover with kitchen towel and put back in the warm, draft-free location for a second 1 hour rise.After the first rise, move to the pan.After the second rise, the bread is exploding over the sides! That means it's going to be light and fluffy.
  5. Heat oven to 350 degrees and bake babka for 30 minutes until an inserted toothpick or skewer comes out clean. Let rest for 10 minutes before turning over onto a cooling rack. If the babka is stubborn, when turned over, hit the pan with the butt of a knife to loosen.Baked, but still in the pan. It looks kind of ugly, but once you turn it out and ice it, it'll be beautiful - see below. No one sees the bottom.
  6. Meanwhile, make icing. Put powdered sugar, lemon juice and hot water in a small bowl. Whisk until incorporated and pour over cooled babka. Let icing set a few minutes before cutting.

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