Traditional Polish Easter Babka (Babka Wielkanocna) Recipe

Traditional Polish Babka
Traditional Polish Babka. © 2011 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
    70 mins
Ratings (4)

This Polish Easter babka recipe celebrates the return of the egg to the diet after the strictures of the Lenten fast. A mere 15 egg yolks are featured in this traditional recipe! For a lower-cholesterol, one-rise recipe, try this easy babka.

Babka is an indispensable component of a Polish Easter feast and is featured in other cuisines, including Ukrainian where it takes a tall shape similar to a Russian kulich. Here are more Eastern European babka recipes.

Bread is an indispensable part of holiday meals and ceremonial rites in every culture as you can see from these Easter bread recipes across Eastern Europe and these Easter Bread recipes around the world.

If you're wondering what to do with the 15 egg whites leftover from this recipe, try freezing the egg whites or using them in this meringue torte recipe.

What You'll Need

  • 1 cup milk
  • 3 1/3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup lukewarm water
  • 2/3 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 15 large room-temperature egg yolks
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/4 teaspoon almond extract (optional)
  • 1/2 cup melted butter
  • 3/4 cup candied citrus rind (optional)
  • 1/2 cup chopped almonds (optional)
  • 1/3 cup light or dark raisins

How to Make It

  1. Scald milk and pour into a large bowl or stand mixer bowl fitted with the paddle attachment. Add 3/4 cup of the flour, mixing well. Cool.
  2. Dissolve yeast in lukewarm water and let stand 5 minutes. Add 1 tablespoon of the sugar and let stand 5 minutes. Add to cooled milk mixture, combining well. Cover and let rise until doubled.
  3. In a separate large bowl, combine salt and egg yolks and beat until thick and lemon-colored, about 5 minutes. Add remaining sugar and extracts, mixing well. Combine egg mixture with risen yeast-milk mixture, beating thoroughly.
  1. Add remaining flour and, using a wooden spoon, beat vigorously for 10 minutes or 7 minutes by machine with the paddle attachment. Add butter and continue to beat an additional 7 to 10 minutes.
  2. Beat in candied rind, almonds, and raisins. Dough will be sticky. Resist the temptation to add more flour. See the note below.
  3. Scrape down sides, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled in the same bowl. Punch down dough and let rise again until doubled.
  4. Generously coat a 12-inch fluted babka pan or tube pan, or Turk's head mold (turban mold) with cooking spray. Punch down dough and, using slightly dampened hands, transfer to prepared pan. Cover and let rise 1 hour or until dough fills the pan. Heat oven to 350 F.
  5. Bake about 50 minutes or until instant-read thermometer registers 190 F or toothpick comes out clean.
  6. Cool in pan 10 minutes and invert onto rack to cool completely. Leave plain or dust with confectioners' sugar, or drizzle with a flat icing if desired although that is not traditional.

Note: Don't add more flour. That's what keeps this cross between a cake and a bread light. Use slightly dampened hands to deal with the sticky dough when transferring it from the bowl to the pans, etc. It will never become "unsticky."