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    Ukrainian Babka

    My good friend George is of Ukrainian heritage. He was visiting New Jersey and I wanted to make a Ukrainian bread for him. I had no idea what kinds of breads Ukrainians ate, so I looked in all my bread books. I found precisely one recipe, one for a Ukrainian Sweet Bread in “Cooking with Bon Appetit: Breads,” a bread book from 1985. I’ve used this book for other breads, so the fact that the recipe was in cups of flour didn’t bother me a bit — I knew it would probably work.

    It turns out that this is close to a classic babka recipe. It has a lot of butter, some eggs, some sugar and milk. It’s very rich and tastes very good.

    This recipe is so very simple and easy to make, I wholeheartedly recommend it for beginners and children.

    The only difference between this and a classic babka is that a classic babka is made in an upright can and this recipe uses loaf pans. Otherwise, this is a babka.

    Ingredients

    Ingred Ounces Grams
    Butter 8 ounces 240 ml Recipe states 2 sticks, 1 cup
    Sugar 1/2 cup 120 ml
    Salt 1 tsp 5 ml This is for use with salted butter. If you are using unsalted butter, use 2 teaspoons salt
    Eggs 3, room temp
    Milk 2 cups 455 ml
    Dry Yeast 1/4 ounce 7 grams
    Bread flour 36 ounces 1020 grams Recipe states 8 cups

    One egg at room temperature. Beat it to blend it to brush the top of the loaves with.

    Method

    1. Grease three 8 1/2 X 4 1/2 inch pans
    2. Combine butter, sugar and salt in a mixer bowl and mix for a minute.
    3. Add the eggs one at a time, beating after each addition.
    4. Bring milk to a boil. Skim top, then let milk cool to 95F-115F / 35C-45C.
    5. Combine yeast and 1/2 cup / 120 ml of the milk in a small bowl and stir until the yeast dissolves.
    6. Add the remaining milk and the yeast mixture to the butter mixture with flour, blending slowly and mixing a bit after each addition.
    7. When all the ingredients are in the bowl, knead for 3-4 minutes. The dough will be smooth and very elastic, but won’t be too sticky, because of all the butter.
    8. Cover the bowl and let ferment in a warm area until doubled in volume, about 2 hours.
    9. Pour the dough out onto the counter and gently fold the dough. Return the dough to the bowl and let ferment another 45 minutes.
    10. Remove the dough from the bowl and fold it again. Divide the dough into three pieces, shape them into loaves and place them in the pans.
    11. Heat the oven to 325F / 165C.
    12. After the dough has risen for 30 minutes, brush the tops with the beaten egg.
    l13. Let the loaves rise until the dough approaches the rim of the pan. This will take about an hour.
    14. Brush the tops of the loaves with the egg and put the loaves into the oven.
    15. Bake for 30 minutes, then shift the loaves around.
    16. Bake until the loaves are a dark golden color, about 60 minutes total.
    17. Remove the loaves from the oven and let them cool for 10 minutes before removing them from the pans.
    19. This bread is best eaten the next day, but who can wait?

    Here we go

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    Ukrainian babka bread baking ingredients. Ukrainian babka bread baking butter mixture. Ukrainian babka bread baking adding eggs. Ukrainian babka bread baking mixing boiling milk.
    Ukrainian babka bread baking mixing cooling milk. Ukrainian babka bread baking mixing adding milk to yeast. Ukrainian babka bread baking adding yeast and milk to butter mixture. Ukrainian babka bread baking adding flour.
    Ukrainian babka bread baking adding milk. Ukrainian babka bread baking adding more flour. Ukrainian babka bread baking mixing. Ukrainian babka bread baking finished mixing.
    Ukrainian babka bread baking a few hand turns. Ukrainian babka bread baking in to ferment. Ukrainian babka bread baking ready for a fold. Ukrainian babka bread baking folded.
    Ukrainian babka bread baking ready to shape. Ukrainian babka bread baking in pans for final rise. Ukrainian babka bread baking finished rising. Ukrainian babka bread baking finished baking.
    Ukrainian babka bread baking another shot. Ukrainian babka bread baking happy George. Ukrainian babka bread baking more George. Ukrainian babka bread baking still more George.




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