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.
|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.
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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