Wednesday, April 20, 2011

Easter Traditions that Don't Cease...Babka

Babka  (Grandma Polak's Recipe)
Our family favorite for Easter!  A tradition that I have carried on for years.
2 packages yeast
2 tsp salt
1 cup sugar
1/2 cup warm water
2 cups scalded milk (whole milk works best)
1 cup butter or margarine
8 cups flour
4 eggs

Dissolve the yeast and salt in the water, set aside for about 5 minutes
To scalded milk, add the butter and sugar.  Let it cool.  Then add eggs.  
Pour yeast mixture into milk mixture.
Add 4 cups of flour.  Mix well.  Add raisins.
* Continuing adding  flour, kneading while adding,  until it feels smooth and not very sticky.
Place in greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap then a towel.
Let rise until double.
Punch down, add more flour, knead a few times.
Cover again, let rise.
Punch down, let rest 1 minutes. knead a few times.
Form into loaves. 
Place into greased tins*
Cover, let rise the third time.
Preheat oven 350°F.  Place in middle of oven and bake about 30 minutes or until golden brown and sound hollow.
After you take it out of the oven, rub butter on the top.

*tins:  grandma  made round loaves.  She shaped it and baked it on a cookie sheet.  I am bad at shaping loaves so I use an 8" cake pan - works great.  I also use loaf pans.

I have used this recipe for years.  This has not failed since I learned to dissolve the yeast with the salt. Yeast needs to be feed with either sugar or salt to ferment.  So if you don't do this...your yeast won't work.

A Little Change in Tradition
I don't dissolve my yeast anymore.  I use SAF yeast, BTW.  So the change up is:
Place  milk and butter in microwave safe bowl.  Heat until butter is melted.  Set aside until room temperature. No water is used.
Place 1/2 the flour, sugar, yeast, salt in mixing bowl.  
Add cooled milk/butter.  Knead/mix until combined.  Add eggs.  (I do it all int mu Kitchen Aide)
Add remaining flour 1/4 cup at a time.  
Continue instructions from  the *

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