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Catholic Recipe: Babka I (Polish Easter Bread)

    INGREDIENTS

  • 2/3 cup warm milk (105-115 degrees)
  • 3 1/2-4 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 7 egg yolks
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied citron
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied orange peel
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied lemon peel
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds
  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • whole almonds
  • fine dry bread crumbs
  • Details

  • Yield: 1 cake
  • Prep Time: 3 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: • • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin:

The word babka means "grandmother" in Polish, and its normally fluted sides resemble a woman's skirt. The first of the two versions here of this Polish classic is extremely (and traditionally) rich. The second (see link for Babka II), just as tasty, is less rich.

DIRECTIONS

1. Combine warm milk and 1/2 cup flour. Beat thoroughly and cool. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes.

2. Combine milk mixture and yeast mixture. Mix thoroughly. Cover; let rise in warm place until double - about 20 minutes.

3. Using electric mixer at medium speed, beat egg yolks and sugar about 5 minutes. Add salt, extracts, and butter. Mix.

4. Add enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth - about 10 minutes.

5. Put in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double - about 1 hour.

6. Knead in candied citron, peels, chopped almonds, and raisins for about 10 minutes. Cover with inverted bowl; let rest for 20 minutes.

7. Punch down dough. Grease a 6-cup Bundt pan. Press whole almonds around bottom and side of pan. Dust lightly with bread crumbs.

8. Put dough in prepared pan. Dough should fill about half of the pan. Cover; let rise in warm place until double - about 45-60 minutes.

9. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven 1 hour or until done. Cool in pan about 15 minutes; then cool on wire rack.

Recipe Source: Festive Bread Book, The by Kathy Cutler, Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1982
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