Easter time is upon us and even though we are stuck inside quarantined this year, I’m still doing my best to make it special in our house.
In my family Easter has always included many of our Polish traditional dishes. From kielbasa, to coloring hard boiled eggs, butter lamb to desserts like babka- a personal favorite. Babka is a Polish sweet bread that has raisins in it and is either served plain, or topped with a sweet syrup or icing.
Over the years I have tried different recipes for babka and recently my Great Uncle found a recipe that my Great Grandmother used to make. I was so excited to try it out and it feels so much more special since it’s one she used to make and as traditional as it gets. It turned out great! Her recipe is below.
Now babka takes time. You need some patience with this recipe! It is an easy recipe to put together but requires a lot of wait time. The dough needs to proof 2 times so make sure you give yourself a solid afternoon to make your babka.
This recipe also makes a lot! You can make 3 loafs with it or one large bundt and one loaf. That’s what I did this time around because I love the look of a bundt. Once these are out of the oven you can leave it plain, as I did. Toasting a piece up with a little butter on it is my go-to. Or you can make a simple glaze with confectioners sugar or even a rum sugar syrup to soak into the cake while its hot. So many delicious options!
Here’s the recipe below! I hope you enjoy it as much as I do and enjoy the Polish tradition! What Easter traditions do you have? Leave a comment below! Happy Easter everyone.
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Polish Easter Babka
- 1 package dried yeast
- 2 cups lukewarm milk
- 8 cups all purpose flour
- 1 cup butter softened
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 eggs
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 TBSP lemon zest
- 1 cup golden raisins soaked in warm water, then drained
Combine yeast packet, 1 cup of the milk, 1 cup of the flour into a medium bowl and mix well. Set aside to rise in a warm place for an hour.
After the yeast mixture has risen, cream together the butter and sugar in a stand mixer. Once creamed add in eggs one at a time. Add in salt. Mix well.
Add the remaining 7 cups of flour, yeast mixture and remaining cup of milk alternately beginning and ending with flour. Lastly add in the lemon zest and drained golden raisins.
If you have a dough hook for your stand mixer, add it on and knead the dough for about 3-5 minutes until smooth and elastic. You can also flour a surface and knead by hand as well. Place in a clean large bowl and set aside in a warm place to double in size.
After dough has doubled in size place into greased and flour pans. You can use one bundt pan and on loaf pan or 3 loaf pans. Choose what you like! Let the dough rise again for about 30 minutes in pan while you preheat the oven to 325.
Cook in 325° oven for 30 minutes. Then take out and brush with an egg mixed with a little milk and place back in the oven now at 350° for an additional 10-15 minutes until golden brown on top and a toothpick comes out clean or an instant read thermometer reads 190°.
Let cool for about 20 minutes in pan, then remove and finish cooling completely on a cooling rack.
*RUM SYRUP: If you want to make a rum syrup to drizzle over the top (which I highly recommend!), combine 1/2 cup sugar, 1/4 cup water and a 1/4 cup of rum in a small saucepan. Bring to boil and swirl until the sugar dissolves and set aside. Once the cake comes out of the oven poke a punch of holes in it with a toothpick and slowly pour the syrup over it. Let sit for about 20 minutes, then remove from pan and transfer to cooling rack to finish cooling.
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