Easter Bread, or Ukrainian Babka Recipe

Ukrainian Babka

It isn’t Easter in my household until we eat this bread for 4-5 days until we have our fill, then are sated for yet another year.

It is a light, buttery yet slightly sweet yeast bread with raisins, baked in coffee tins and is so fantastic toasted with some butter on it. Or plain with margarine. Or toasted with anything on top.

It is also a labor of love and takes a few hours.

Ingredients Needed:

Yeast & Proofing
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 tumeric
8-9 cups of flour

7 small coffee tins

Now, I put the butter, milk and sugar in a pot and brought it to a near boil, you want to slightly scald the milk.

Then I called my mother and during that conversation she mentions that she throws it all into the microwave and nukes it until it’s incredibly hot.

Now, that is certainly not how my predecessors did it. However, this modern woman on her second batch used the microwave.

And it works like a charm!

Now you have to let the mixture cool and adding in that cup of water certainly helps, thus the reason we leave it until the end here.

Take the warm water and sugar, mix in your yeast thoroughly and let it start bubbling away.

Beat your egg yolks and tumeric. The tumeric 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.

Then add the yeast.

I used the mixer for this now because it is one heck of a job.  Mix the salt into the flour then 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.

Cover it of course.

Once it’s doubled in size, it’s time to punch it down and put it in the tins to rise again. You want to fill the tins only half way with punched down dough, this dough rises like you wouldn’t believe!

Grease the ever lovin’ heck out of those coffee tins. I only had 6 this year, so you can also use a loaf pan as well. This would make a perfect 7 tins.

Time to let it rise again, I had a nice warm stove from banana bread so they sat on there. 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, the tops get very golden brown but don’t fear, the inner part has to cook and the tops get brown and stay brown.

Cool very slightly in the tins then remove to make sure the bread doesn’t sweat and the bottoms don’t get soggy.

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Easter Bread, or Ukrainian Babka
Traditional Ukrainian Babka, or Easter Bread.
Author:
Serves: 10
Prep time: 
Cook time: 
Total time: 
Ingredients
  • ½ cup of warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp of traditional yeast
  • 1 cup of butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • ¾ cup of white sugar
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 6 egg yolks
  • 2 cups of raisins
  • ½ tsp tumeric
  • 8-9 cups of flour
  • 7 small coffee tins
  • One beaten egg to brush the tops with
Instructions
  1. Place the butter, milk and sugar in a pot and bring it to a near boil, you want to slightly scald the milk. You can also heat it in the microwave as well to the point of scalded. (near boil)
  2. Add in the cup of cold water and let the mixture cool.
  3. Take the ½ cup of warm water and sugar, mix in your yeast thoroughly and let it start bubbling away.
  4. Beat your egg yolks and tumeric. The tumeric 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)
  5. Add it to the cooled milk mixture.
  6. Then add the yeast mixture to the bowl.
  7. I used the mixer for this now because it is one heck of a job. Mix the salt into your flour then add in the first four cups of flour, then your raisins. Then slowly add another 4-5 cups until the dough is slightly sticky. The dough should stick to your hand very slightly, but be a nice elastic dough.
  8. 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.
  9. Once that’s done it needs to rise. Put it into a bowl(s) in a nice warm place and cover it with a damp tea towel.
  10. Once it’s doubled in size, it’s time to punch it down and put it in the tins to rise again. You want to fill the tins only half way with punched down dough, this dough rises like you wouldn’t believe!
  11. Grease the ever lovin’ heck out of those coffee tins. (I use the medium size, the 13-16 oz coffee tins, NOT the large ones!) This would make a perfect 7 tins. You can also make it in a loaf pan.
  12. Time to let it rise again, Let the dough rise until it is are almost at the top o the can. 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.
  13. Remove all the oven racks except the bottom one. Kick the tires and light the fires to 325 degrees.
  14. Bake for 30-40 minutes on the very bottom rack, the tops get very golden brown but don’t fear, the inner part has to cook and the tops get brown and stay brown.
  15. Once they are nearly done brush with the beaten egg and cook until the bread is finished.
  16. The bread will sound hollow on top when tapped & be a lovely brown.
  17. Cool very slightly in the tins then remove to make sure the bread doesn’t sweat and the bottoms don’t get soggy.
  18. If they stick slightly in the tins, twist and shake gently at the same time, they will pop right out.
  19. If they stick in the loaf pans, run a knife along the edge to free the bread then remove safely.
  20. Cool on racks for a couple of hours. If you can wait!

 

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