Ukrainian Country Babka

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“A successful babka--rich, tender, fine textured, spongy, and very light--is a great triumph of a Ukrainian homemaker.”
1hr 15mins
2 babka's

Ingredients Nutrition


  1. Dissolve the sugar in the lukewarm water, sprinkle the yeast over it, and let stand until softened.
  2. FOR THE SPONGE: Combine dissolved yeast with the lukewarm milk and 1 cup of flour.
  3. Beat well, cover, and allow the sponge to rise in a warm place until light and bubbly.
  4. Beat the eggs with the salt, add the sugar gradually, and continue beating.
  5. Beat in the butter and lemon rind.
  6. Combine this mixture with the sponge.
  7. Stir in the flour and KNEAD IN THE BOWL for about 10 minutes.
  8. This dough should be slightly thicker than for the usual babka mixture.
  9. Knead in the raisins.
  10. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.
  11. Punch down, knead a few times, and let it rise again.
  12. Butter tall, round baking pans (or coffee cans) with soft butter sprinkling them lightly with fine bread crumbs and fill them ONE-THIRD FULL.
  13. I like to use greased parchment paper on the bottom and sides of pan.
  14. For this recipe you will need about 2 or 3 large coffee cans.
  15. If you are going to use smaller cans, you will need more of them and use your judgment to how many you will need.
  16. Adjust baking time for the smaller cans.
  17. Cover and let rise in a warm place until the dough reaches the brim of the pan.
  18. Brush the loaves with a beaten egg diluted with 2 Tablespoons of milk or water.
  19. Bake in a moderately hot oven (400 degrees F) for about 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees F.
  20. ,and continue baking for 40 minutes longer, or until done.
  21. Avoid browning the top too deeply.
  22. If necessary, cover with aluminum foil.
  23. Remove the baked loaves from the oven and let them stand in the pans for 5 to 10 minutes.
  24. Tip each loaf very gently from the pan onto a cloth-covered pillow.
  25. Do not cool the loaves on a hard surface.
  26. This is extremely important.
  27. Careless handling of the baked babka may cause it to fall or settle.
  28. As the loaves are cooling, change their position very gently a few times to prevent settling.
  29. If desired, the cooled loaves may be iced or glazed and decorated with bakers' confetti.
  30. This is the custom in the old country.
  31. Babka is always sliced in rounds across the loaf.
  32. The sliced bottom crust serves as a protective cover, and it is put back to prevent the loaf from drying.
  33. BABKA WITH PUMPKIN: This is a very old recipe, but it is worth preserving.
  34. Mashed pumpkin imparts a mellow, yellow color to babka and keeps it fresh and soft for days.
  35. A fewer number of eggs is required when pumpkin is used.
  36. Follow the preceding recipe for Country Babka.
  37. Add 1/2 to 2/3 cup of cooked, mashed pumpkin, 2 teaspoons vanilla, and 1/2 cup of orange juice and about 4 eggs.
  38. Add enough flour to give a soft dough.

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