I look forward to Easter for many reasons. As a Christian, it is the most important holiday for me to reflect on my faith and lead my family in the celebration of the resurrection of Jesus Christ. We also look forward to the fun time with extended family, Easter Egg hunts, Easter baskets, and lot of great Easter food.
My favorite Easter recipe is from my husband’s family. His family brought their Babka Easter Bread recipe with them 4 generations ago from Poland. I was happy to introduce this bread to our family as an Easter tradition and we all look forward to it. Once you taste it, you will want tot add it to your annual Easter holiday traditions.
We usually have the Babka Easter Bread for Easter morning breakfast at our home, then enjoy it again for Easter dinner with the extended family. Each batch makes 3 loaves but I normally make at least 2 batches to share with family and friends. Last year, we ended up freezing 1 loaf to see if it would freeze well. To our delightful surprise, it freezes very well.
This recipe is moderate to difficult because of the amount of time it takes from beginning to end – about 6 hours. It is well worth the time and effort.
- 1-1/4 cup Milk
- 3-4 cup Flour
- 2 Yeast Cakes
- ½ cup and 1 tbsp. Sugar
- 15 Egg Yolks
- ½ tsp. Salt
- 1 tsp. Vanilla
- ½ cup Melted Butter
- Yellow Raisins (1/2 box)
- 1. Scald Milk. Put 1 cup milk in large pot to mix. Add ¾ cup flour to milk. Stir till smooth.
- 2. Let remaining ¼ cup milk sit till lukewarm. To this remaining milk, add 1 tbsp. sugar and 2 yeast cakes, crumbled. Mix until there are no lumps. Cover, and let form a sponge, no liquid will be left on the bottom. After the sponge forms, add to the flour & milk mixture above, cover with a pot lid or dish towel and sit aside for ½ hour until sponge bubbles.
- 3. Beat egg yolks with salt and remaining sugar until creamy.
- 4. When sponge bubbles, add egg mixture, beat well. Add remaining flour and vanilla. Work till satin smooth. Add melted butter and kneed mixture longer. (You can use a bread dough hook on a KitchenAid mixer.) Add raisins and cover with pot lid or dish towel. Let the dough rise someplace warm until dough doubles in volume, about 1-1/2 hours. Once it doubles in size, knock it down, and cover with a pot lid or dish towel to rise again in a warm place, about 1-1/2 hours.
- 5. Knead well on board. Put in 3 well buttered bread pans. (If you use the new silicone bakeware, your bread will cook the same but be much wider and not as tall.) Mix a little sugar and melted butter with dough scraps and sprinkle over top of bread. Let dough rise in the pans until light (reaches top of pans), about 2 hours. Bake at 325 for 30 minutes or less. Put tin foil under pans.
- 6. May be served warm or cold, with or without butter on top.
Traditionally, we serve Babka Easter Bread with hard boiled eggs and polish sausage for Easter morning. It is a very sweet, moist bread that is devoured by kids and adults alike.
This recipe makes 3 loaves. I always double the recipe and give loaves as gifts to special friends and family.
Tip: Wrap it in several layers of plastic wrap to keep it moist. It starts to dry out in 2 or 3 days, if you have any left, put a piece in the microwave with a wet paper towel on top for a few seconds and it will taste fresh again.