Mmm. Babka. ‘Tis the time of year to eat this for a week, then put away the coffee tins until 2012 in anticipation of the next time we eat ourselves silly on Easter Bread.
This year I didn’t have any coffee tins, whether they were accidentally recycled or Hurricane Mike chucked them during the great house cleanup of 2011, I don’t know.
I do know I turned this house upside down looking for those blasted tins, to no avail.
So I was forced to make it in loaf pans, which wasn’t a hardship in the slightest. I own three loaf pans and decided to go all crazy-like and make mini-loaves.
Which were an absolute hit from kids to husband, I might add. I was irked I didn’t make more than the 8, as my son ate two in one sitting and myself and my husband also helped him out.
Mini Babka, the perfect lunch for any good little Ukrainian kid.
I thought I would share my simplified recipe below, print and enjoy, but if you would like to learn how to make it step by step with photos, click on this Babka Recipe.
- 1/2 cup of warm water
- 1 tsp sugar
- 2 tbsp of traditional yeast
- 1 cup of butter
- 2 cups of milk
- 1 cup of water
- 3/4 cup of white sugar
- 2 tsp of salt
- 6 egg yolks
- 2 cups of raisins
- 1/2 tsp turmeric
- 8-9 cups of flour
- 7 small coffee tins or 4 large loaf pans
- beaten egg for brushing on the tops
- Put the butter, milk, salt and sugar in a pot and brought it to a near boil, you want to slightly scald the milk. This can also be done in the microwave, believe it or not.
- Add one cup of the coldest water possible to the butter/milk mixture, to help cool it down.
- Take the warm water and sugar, mix in your yeast thoroughly and let it start bubbling away.
- Beat your egg yolks and turmeric. The turmeric gives the bread it’s lovely color. You can also use 3 whole eggs instead of the 6 egg yolks but the yolks make a richer bread. So 3 eggs OR 6 yolks, folks. Add it to the cooled milk mixture.
- I used the mixer for this now because it is one heck of a job. Add in the first four cups of flour, then your raisins. Then slowly add another 4-5 cups until the dough is slightly sticky.
- My dough always climbs the hook eventually so I used the mixer to get it combined and kneaded as much as possible then removed it and kneaded it on the counter for a while.
- Once that’s done it needs to rise. Put it into a bowl(s) in a nice warm place and cover.
- Once it’s doubled in size, it’s time to punch it down and put it in the tins to rise again. Grease the ever lovin’ heck out of those coffee tins.
- You want to fill the tins/pans only half way with punched down dough, this dough rises like you wouldn’t believe!
- Time to let it rise again. Let them rise until they are almost at the top. They will rise in the oven as well when they start baking, which is why you want them only to rise barely to the top of the tin.
- Remove all the oven racks except the bottom one. Kick the tires and light the fires to 325 degrees.
- Bake for 30-40 minutes on the very bottom rack in your oven, the tops get very golden brown but don’t fear, the inner part has to cook and the tops get brown and stay brown.
- Once they are nearly done brush with the beaten egg and cook until the bread is finished.
- The bread will sound hollow on top when tapped & be a lovely brown.
- Cool very slightly in the tins then remove to make sure the bread doesn’t sweat and the bottoms don’t get soggy.
- If they stick slightly in the tins, twist and shake gently at the same time, they will pop right out.
- If they stick in the loaf pans, run a knife along the edge to free the bread then remove safely.
- Cool on racks for a couple of hours. If you can wait!
This is as traditional as you can get for Babka, I am the fourth known generation using this exact recipe and I am sure it goes even further back.
This is not Paska!
You know what’s funny?
I HAVE a Paska recipe! My grandma Kay, not the one who gave me this recipe, gave me a cookbook when I turned 18 and there is a Paska recipe taped inside. I just found it the other day and started laughing. All the arguments over Babka/Paska and I have the two recipes after all.
So now I can truly say this is not Paska at all. The recipe for true Paska involves several steps, mixing half the four, letting it rise, mixing in the rest of the flour and eggs, truly, it is a huge recipe with instructions on braided dough, decorating ideas and so forth.
So everyone go ahead and enjoy your Babka, it is really an easy bread recipe and so very unique to this time of year. Happy Baking!