Polish Babka

11 Apr

Babka is a Polish bread that’s traditionally made for Easter. I saw a recipe for it and was intrigued – I love learning about food traditions from other countries. Apparently “babka” is Polish for “grandmother”. It’s named so because the shape is reminiscent of a grandmother’s skirt, especially if you serve the slices fanned out in a circle. Cute, right? 🙂

This is a super simple recipe and while it is a yeast dough, there isn’t any kneading required. Just mix the ingredients together, let it rise the proper amount of time, bake it, and boom – you have a delicious treat. The texture is nice and is on the border between bread and cake. My variation left out the usual raisins and dried fruit, at least this time. Even without the addition it’s so good and has just enough sweetness where it could be used as a dessert or an addition to breakfast or brunch.

The rum syrup that’s added right after baking gives the babka a nice extra oomph. But if you decide to add the rum glaze, this grandma isn’t very kid friendly anymore! You can always make it milder with apple juice or milk, or leave out the glaze altogether, but the grown up version we ate had some definite rum action going on.

Happy Easter season to all of you!

Polish Babka

1/2 cup lukewarm milk
3 large eggs, at room temperature
Heaping 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup (4 Tbsp) softened butter
2 cups all-purpose flour
2 tsp instant yeast
1/4 cup raisins (optional)

Rum Syrup:
1/2 cup granulated sugar
1/4 cup water
2 Tbsp rum (or apple juice)

Rum Glaze:
1 cup confectioners sugar
Pinch of salt
2 Tbsp rum (or apple juice)
Splash of milk

Yield: 1 cake (approx 12-16 servings)

Place everything for the bread in a mixing bowl and beat at medium speed until cohesive. Increase your mixer’s speed to high and beat for 2 minutes. Add the fruit, beating gently just to combine. (optional)

Cover the bowl and let the dough rest/rise for 60 minutes; it won’t appear to do much. Scoop the batter into a greased bundt pan. Cover the pan, and let the dough rest/rise for 30 minutes, while you preheat your oven to 350 degrees F.

Bake the babka for 35 to 40 minutes, until an instant-read thermometer inserted into the center of the loaf reads at least 190 degrees F.

While the babka is baking, prepare the rum syrup. Combine all of the syrup ingredients in a small saucepan set over medium heat. Bring the mixture to a boil, and boil, swirling the liquid in the pan, until the sugar dissolves. Remove from the heat.

Remove the babka from the oven. Poke it all over gently with a toothpick or fork and slowly pour the syrup over the babka’s surface. When the syrup is fully absorbed (about 20 minutes or so), carefully loosen the babka’s edges, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack.

To make the glaze, mix all of the ingredients together, stirring until smooth. Drizzle over completely cool babka. Slice, serve, and enjoy!

Source: King Arthur Flour


3 Responses to “Polish Babka”

  1. Gwen Mahn April 11, 2012 at 2:57 pm #

    Looks good! 🙂

  2. Baker on the Rise April 11, 2012 at 3:57 pm #

    This looks good but I think I would leave the rum glaze on 🙂

  3. Becky April 11, 2012 at 8:20 pm #

    Thanks yall! The rum glaze is a definite must for me too 🙂

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