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Recipe for cooking traditional polish sweet bread - babka

Recipes from Poland and Hungary :: Polish and Hungarian Quick and Yeast Breads


This dessert, a cross between cake and sweet bread, is often baked for Easter.

3 (1/4 ounce) pkg. active dry yeast
1 1/4 (one and one-fourth) c. unsalted butter or butter-replacement
6 eggs
3/4 c. warm water (110 degrees fahrenheit)
2 egg yolks
1 Tbsp. plus 1 c. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
About 7 3/4 c. flour
2 egg whites
1 1/2 (one and one-half) c. milk

Topping
1/4 c. sugar
1/2 c. flour
1 tsp. ground cinnamon
1/4 c. unsalted butter, chilled

Grease side and bottom of 2 (10-in.) tube pans. Prepare Topping; set aside.

In a shallow, med. bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add 1 Tbsp. sugar and 1/2 c. flour; stir to combine. Cover; let stand in a warm place 5-10 mins. until foamy.

Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until melted. Let stand until mixture cools to warm.

In a large bowl, beat eggs, egg yolks and remaining 1 c. sugar until pale and frothy. Add cooled milk mixture, salt and yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Gradually beat in 4 1/2 (four and a half) c. flour. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface. Knead dough into a soft, smooth dough. Divide dough in 1/2. Arrange 1 part dough in each greased pan. Cover with a damp cloth; let rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees fahrenheit.

Lightly beat 2 egg whites in a small bowl until foamy. Brush beaten egg whites on top of dough. In an even way sprinkle and distribute Topping over dough. Bake 50 to 55 mins. or until a wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Cool cakes in pans 3 to 4 mins. on racks.

Turn out of pans; cool completely on racks. Frost with confectioners’ sugar icing, if desired.

Makes 2 (10-in.) cakes.

Topping

In a small bowl, combine sugar, flour and cinnamon. Using a pastry blender or 2 knives, cut in butter until mixture resembles crumbs.

Confectioners’ Sugar Icing
2 egg whites
1 1/2 (one and one-half) c. sifted confectioners’ sugar
1/2 tsp. lemon juice

In a med. bowl, beat egg whites until frothy. Gradually add confectioners’ sugar, beating constantly. Beat 10 mins. or until glossy.

Add lemon juice; beat 2 mins. or until icing stands up in soft peaks. Makes about 1 1/4 (one and one-fourth) c. icing.

Variation
Add food coloring or flavorings, such as 1 tsp. sifted unsweetened cocoa powder or vanilla extract. Use a little more sugar if liquids are added.

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