Traditionally, Babka is made for Easter and that traditions continues in our family. It takes many hours to prepare but well worth the time. This recipe makes three loaves, so you can share one or two with friends and family. My family doubles the recipe so that everyone goes home from Easter Dinner with Easter Bread.
Prep Time: 6 hours
Cook Time: 30 minutes
Total Time: 6 hours, 30 minutes
- 1 1/4 cup milk
- 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 yeast cakes
- 1/2 cup plus 1 Tbsp. sugar
- 15 egg yolks
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 tsp. vanilla
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 cup yellow raisins
Scald Milk. Put 1 cup milk in large pot to mix. Add ¾ cup flour to the milk. Stir till smooth.
Let remaining ¼ cup milk sit until lukewarm. To this remaining milk, add 1 Tbsp. sugar and the 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 it to the flour and milk mixture above, cover with a pot lid or dish towel, and set aside for ½ hour until the sponge bubbles.
Beat the egg yolks with the salt and the remaining sugar until the mixture is creamy.
When the sponge bubbles, add the egg mixture and beat well. Add the remaining flour and vanilla. Work until satin smooth. Add melted butter and kneed mixture longer. (You can use a bread dough hook on a KitchenAid mixer.) Add the raisins and cover with a pot lid or dish towel. Let the dough rise in a warm place until the 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 another 1 1/2 hours.
Knead the Dough and Bake the Bread
Knead the dough well on board. Divide it into three, 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 until lightly brown on top. Put tin foil under pans.
Serving and Storing Babka
This bread is delicious warm or cold, with or without butter spread on top. Wrap it very well in plastic wrap to keep it moist. If it starts to dry out, microwave a piece in the microwave for a few seconds and it will taste fresh again.