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Easter Bread, or Ukrainian Babka Recipe

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Easter Bread, or Ukrainian Babka, is one of the most beloved Easter traditions in my household. I come from a Ukrainian family and both of my Grandmother’s would make Babka every Easter. When my Grandma wasn’t around to make it, my Mom would then take over. I have been making Easter Bread since I had my own children and have taught them the tradition as well. This post was updated March 20, 2018 to include some new photos and a how-to video! I have left my old step by step photos in the post as they are very important and helpful!

Babka
Babka

Ukrainian Babka Recipe

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. This recipe is called Babka by mainly Canadian Prairie Ukrainian settlers, as it has been argued ( as you can read in the comments!) that this is Paska. Now, here on the Prairies my Mom and Baba swore up and down that actual Paska is not a sweet bread, is braided and has no raisins. Here on the Prairies we tend to actually have our own little culture when it comes to being Ukrainians. We pronounce kielbasa as ” koooo-basa” – which is the ONLY place that it’s pronounced like that! Isn’t that strange? It’s a uniquely Canadian prairie version of saying the word, however with our very large population of Ukrainian settlers it’s no less authentic, just as calling this Babka is no less authentic. Ways and words were changed when my ancestors arrived here and adapted to a new life.

Also on another interesting note, it’s unique to the Edmonton area that we spell it “perogy” instead of pierogi. We have a Perogy House here, it’s just how we spell it sometimes!

Ukrainian Babka

What is Easter Bread or Ukrainian Babka?

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:

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of cold water
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp of traditional yeast
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 8-9 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of raisins
  • 7 small coffee tins
  • One beaten egg to brush the tops with

    Easter Bread, or Ukrainian Babka in coffee tins and in a Pyrex loaf pan
    Easter Bread, or Ukrainian Babka in coffee tins and in a Pyrex loaf pan 

Now, I put the butter, milk and 3/4 cup of white 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 1 tsp of sugar, mix in your yeast thoroughly and let it start bubbling away.

yeast proofing for Ukrainian Babka/Paska or Ukrainian Easter Bread
yeast proofing for Ukrainian Babka/Paska or Ukrainian Easter Bread

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.

eggs and turmeric mixed together for Ukrainian Babka/Paska or Ukrainian Easter Bread
eggs and turmeric mixed together for Ukrainian Babka/Paska or Ukrainian Easter Bread

Add it to the cooled milk mixture.

combining ingredients for Ukrainian Babka/Paska or Ukrainian Easter Bread
combining ingredients for Ukrainian Babka/Paska or Ukrainian Easter Bread

Then add the yeast.

adding yeast into the bowl for dough for Ukrainian Babka/Paska or Ukrainian Easter Bread
adding yeast into the bowl for dough for Ukrainian Babka/Paska or Ukrainian Easter Bread

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.

mixing in raisins into the Babka
mixing in raisins into the Babka

Once that’s done it needs to rise. Put it into a bowl(s) in a nice warm place.

Babka dough rising
Babka dough rising

Cover it of course.

Babka dough rising
Babka dough rising

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!

Babka dough risen over the top of the bowl
Babka dough risen over the top of the bowl

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.

Babka dough in coffee tins and loaf pan
Babka dough in coffee tins and loaf pan

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.

Babka dough rising in coffee tins and loaf pan
Babka dough rising in coffee tins and loaf pan

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!

Happy Baking you guys! I am so happy to share this recipe with you, it’s our family tradition and I’m thrilled that you can bake it as well!

Love,

Karlynn

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Step by step photos AND a new video showing you how to make this Ukrainian Babka recipe! This is my Baba's treasured Ukrainian Easter Bread recipe! #easter #babka #paska #baking #easterbread #ukrainian #polish #bread #traditional #recipe

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Easter Bread, or Ukrainian Babka

Traditional Ukrainian Babka, or Easter Bread! I take you step by step through making this traditional bread and even made a video to help you out!
4.98 from 40 votes
Prep Time
2 hours
Cook Time
20 minutes
Total Time
2 hours 20 minutes
Course
Breakfast
Cuisine
bread
Servings
10
Calories
741
Author
Karlynn Johnston

Ingredients

  • 1 cup of butter
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 3/4 cup of white sugar
  • 1 cup of cold water ( I add ice)
  • 1/2 cup of warm water
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 2 tbsp of traditional yeast
  • 6 large egg yolks
  • 1/2 tsp turmeric (or saffron)
  • 2 tsp of salt
  • 8-9 cups of flour
  • 2 cups of raisins
  • 7 small coffee tins
  • One beaten egg to brush the tops with

Instructions

  1. Place the butter, milk and 3/4 cup of white 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 1/2 cup of warm water and 1 tsp of white sugar, mix in your yeast thoroughly and let it start bubbling away.
  4. Beat your egg yolks and turmeric (or saffron if you want traditional). 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)

  5. Add the egg mixture to the warm milk mixture. You need to let the saffon dissolve in the warm mixture before you move on, if you use saffron!

  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 almost at the top of 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!

Recipe Video

Recipe Notes

Glaze the tops with my Buttery Icing Glaze if desired!

Nutrition Information

Serving: 10g, Calories: 741kcal, Carbohydrates: 118g, Protein: 16g, Fat: 23g, Saturated Fat: 13g, Cholesterol: 184mg, Sodium: 672mg, Potassium: 463mg, Fiber: 5g, Sugar: 18g, Vitamin A: 840IU, Vitamin C: 1.6mg, Calcium: 104mg, Iron: 5.9mg

All calories and info are based on a third party calculator and are only an estimate. Actual nutritional info will vary with brands used, your measuring methods, portion sizes and more.

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Karlynn Johnston

I’m a busy mom of two, wife & cookbook author who loves creating fast, fresh meals for my little family on the prairies. Karlynn Facts: I'm allergic to broccoli. I've never met a cocktail that I didn't like. I would rather burn down my house than clean it. Most of all, I love helping YOU get dinner ready because there's nothing more important than connecting with our loved ones around the dinner table!

Learn more about me

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Comments & Recipe Tips Share a tip or comment!

  1. Ruby says

    Yippee!! I’m thrilled to see that you put Saffron in your Babka – like my Baba! AND . . . she always made her Babka in Tomato Juice Cans – looked like the coffee tins you have used for some. Well done!!! Now all I have to do is make some!! Fingers crossed that it will live up to the memory I have of how hers tasted.

  2. Lorraine A Murdoch says

    I can’t wait to try this. I grew up in Manitoba and we called perogies, paraha. People definitely look at me strange when I say that…lol

  3. joanne says

    How many loaf pans would be needed for this recipe if cans are not available?

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