Thought it appropriate to go back in time, four years ago, and share this awesome recipe yet again! If you are one to keep traditions or are looking to make new ones, this is a shoe-in for Easter. Now I know, I know Easter is practically over as it is almost midnight here, but it’s worth the time to make this holiday sweet bread sometime in the very near future….say NOW! LOL Okay, so that’s probably a little unreasonable…but, wait…not if you’re reading this say in….California….or Hawaii…..hmmm. Getting back on topic! LOL Read on my blog-reading friends and let me know how this one turns out! I LOVE feedback, so be sure and comment!! Feedback tells me if I’m making what interests not only me, but my followers… wherever you are..out there….in internet….land………LOL
This Easter weekend I made this wonderfully delicious, genetically pre-disposed recipe for the first time. Okay, I guess I’ve watched too much Big Bang Theory!!! (genetically pre-disposed????? really???? LOL) My father’s father’s parents were from the Ukraine and Belarus; so, it’s only fitting that I would choose this recipe over say, the Polish version. Although, if you were to ask my grandmother, may she rest in peace, she would’ve said we have some Polish in us also; but, that is a discussion for another day. Babka is a slightly sweet Ukrainian breakfast bread made on Easter morning, to “celebrate the rising of Christ”*. Now ironically, in Belarus, Babka refers to a potato dish; so, I’ll have to investigate that further and try that one out in the future! Ukrainian Babka Bread falls somewhere between cinnamon roll dough and coffee cake. All I can say is it is well worth the wait, as it has to rise for a total of three hours. Are you running in the other direction yet?! Don’t let the rise time scare you! Making the actual dough is no more difficult than making cinnamon rolls or coffee cake.
1/2 cup warm water (approx. 110 degrees F)
2 packages (4 1/2 tsp) dry yeast
1/2 cup scalded milk
3/4 cup granulated sugar
3/4 cup melted butter/margarine
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
1/4 tsp cinnamon
1 tsp salt
2 tbsp grated orange zest
6 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 small box raisins (1/2 cup)
1 cup confectioners sugar
1/2 tsp almond extract
1/2 tsp vanilla extract
4 tbsp fresh orange juice
In a small sauce pan over medium heat, bring the milk to just a low simmer. Remove from heat and add butter/margarine to milk, allowing it to melt. In a separate cup/bowl, mix together the warm water and yeast, allowing it to activate for 5-10 minutes. It will foam on top, when fully activated. In a large bowl, mix sugar, cinnamon, salt, orange zest and milk (with butter/margarine). Cool mixture for about 10 minutes. Once cool enough to touch, add vanilla extract, eggs an raisins to large bowl, followed by activated yeast. Add four of the six cups of flour. If the dough is sticky and not formed, add a fifth cup of flour.
On a flat surface, spread 1/2 cup of flour in a circle. Dump dough onto floured surface and knead. Fold surface flour into dough while kneading for at least five minutes. If dough feels sticky, add more flour throughout the kneading process, until it no longer sticks to the surface or your hands. Shape dough into a ball, folding the creases under the ball, leaving a smooth surface on top. Place in a well-greased bowl, creases down; then, lightly grease dough and cover with a towel. Place in a warm draft-free place and allow to rise for two hours or until doubled in size. Once risen, punch dough one or two times, divide into two pieces. Shape dough and place into greased baking pans, either loaf or fluted pans work well. Allow dough to rise again, doubling once more, about one hour.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake bread for 40-45 minutes, until golden brown and pulling away from sides of pan. Remove and cool for 10 minutes. Remove from pans and place on cooling rack. In a small bowl, mix confectioners sugar, both extracts and orange juice. Drizzle over bread and allow to rest another 10 minutes; then, serve warm.
* definition source, Wikipedia