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Catholic Recipe: Babka II (Polish Easter Bread)

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105-115°)
  • 1 stick unsalted butter, melted
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 3 1/2- 4 cups flour
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 1 teaspoon rum flavoring
  • 3/4 cup warm milk (105-115°)
  • fine dry bread crumbs
  • confectioners' sugar
  • Details

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

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

DIRECTIONS

1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Cream butter and sugar in mixing bowl. Add egg yolks, 1 1/2 cups flour, and mix thoroughly.

2. Add yeast mixture, salt, vanilla, and rum flavoring.

3. Add milk and enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

4. Knead on lighty floured surface until smooth—about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top.

5. Cover; let rise in warm place until double—about 1 hour.

6. Punch down dough. Generously grease 10-inch Bundt pan. Lightly coat pan with bread crumbs. Put dough into prepared pan.

7. Cover; let rise in warm place until double—about 45 minutes.

8. Bake in a preheated 350° oven 45 minutes or until done.

9. Cool in pan on wire rack 10 minutes. Then remove from pan. Cool on rack. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar before serving.

Note: You may prefer to make babka in a round or a braided loaf and bake on a baking sheet. Or you can bake babka in a 2-quart souffle dish.

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