By Patty Liston
This summer, instead of plain rolls purchased from the supermarket, why not try out one of these breads? Aside from the time they take to make, they are delicious, and will be a sure hit at your table. Best of all, you will be able to relax as you knead the bread and think about absolutely nothing except the feel of soft dough under your hands.
Babka is Polish for Grandmother. The bread is said to resemble a woman's full skirt, hence the name.
BabkaMakes 2 loaves
2 cup(s) warm milk, 110 degrees F
5 package(s) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cup(s) sugar
1 tablespoon(s) sugar
7 cup(s) all-purpose flour
2 tablespoon(s) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon(s) salt
1 tablespoon(s) lemon zest, grated
3/4 cup(s) golden raisins
1 teaspoon(s) vanilla extract
10 large egg yolks, lightly beaten
3 large eggs
1/2 cup(s) unsalted butter, melted
1 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, melted
1. Make the dough: Coat a large bowl with oil and set aside. Combine the milk, yeast, the 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1 cup flour in a small bowl and set aside. In the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the remaining 6 cups flour, remaining sugar, salt, lemon zest, and raisins. With the mixer on low speed, add vanilla, egg yolks, 2 eggs, and the yeast mixture. Mix on low speed until a smooth, elastic dough forms -- about 10 minutes. Add the 1/2 cup butter and mix for 5 more minutes. Transfer the dough to the prepared bowl, turning to coat all sides with oil. Cover the bowl with a clean, damp kitchen towel and set dough aside to rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in volume -- about 1 hour.
2. Shape the loaf: Coat two 8-inch round by 4-inch-deep baking dishes with remaining butter and lightly dust with the 2 tablespoons flour, shaking out any excess. Set aside. Punch down the dough, transfer it to a lightly floured surface, and divide it in half. Shape each half into a ball and place them in the prepared dishes. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until dough doubles in volume - about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
3. Bake the bread: Beat the remaining egg and lightly brush the top of babkas. Bake in the lower third of the oven for 15 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 300 degrees F and continue to bake until the loaves are golden and sound hollow when tapped - about 40 more minutes. Transfer the finished loaves to a wire rack to cool.
Greek Koulourakia (Easter Morning Biscuits)(Picture from Country Living)
Makes 16 Biscuits
Koulourakia is a favorite Greek biscuit that is a traditional bread for Easter. Sweetened with honey, this bread is a wonderful accompaniment to your Easter breakfast - or any breakfast for that matter. Because of the light, doughy consistency, they are perfect for dunking in coffee, or hot chocolate
3 cup(s) all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon(s) baking powder
1/2 teaspoon(s) salt
1/2 cup(s) butter, softened
1/3 cup(s) honey, (see step 1)
1 tablespoon(s) honey, (see step 2)
1/3 cup(s) light brown sugar
2 large eggs
2 tablespoon(s) milk
1/2 teaspoon(s) pure vanilla extract
3 tablespoon(s) orange juice
1. Make the dough: Sift the flour, baking powder, and salt together into a medium bowl. Using an electric mixer, combine the butter, 1/3 cup honey, and sugar in a large bowl until they are light and fluffy. With the mixer running, add the eggs one at a time until thoroughly incorporated. Add the milk, vanilla, and 2 tablespoons orange juice and beat on medium speed until combined. Gradually add the flour mixture and beat for 1 more minute until all the flour is incorporated and a soft dough forms. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and refrigerate the dough for 30 minutes.
2. Bake the biscuits: Preheat oven to 350 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the remaining honey and orange juice, stir glaze until smooth, and set aside. Divide the dough into 16 equal-sized pieces and form each into either an S-shaped serpentine shape or a twist. For serpentine shapes, roll each dough piece into a "rope" approximately 8 inches long, bend the rope into an S, and coil each end. To form twists, fold the 8-inch rope in half and twist the ends of each side over each other 3 times. Place the biscuits on a baking sheet and bake for 12 minutes. Remove the biscuits from the oven, brush with the orange glaze, and continue to bake until golden -- about 15 more minutes. Cool on a wire rack. Serve with coffee, a fresh herbal tea or hot chocolate for you or the children.
Hot Crossed BunsMakes 12
Last, but not least, all the way from England - land of Prince William and soon to be Princess Catherine - Hot Crossed Buns! These do take a little more time, but so very worth it!
1 cup(s) milk
1 tablespoon(s) milk, warmed to 110 degrees F
1 package(s) dry active yeast
3/4 cup(s) sugar
1 teaspoon(s) sugar
2 1/4 cup(s) all-purpose flour
2 cup(s) bread flour
1/2 cup(s) black raisins
2 tablespoon(s) candied lemon peel, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
2 tablespoon(s) candied orange peel, cut into 1/4-inch pieces
1 teaspoon(s) salt
1/2 teaspoon(s) cinnamon
1/4 teaspoon(s) ground nutmeg
1/8 teaspoon(s) ground cloves
4 tablespoon(s) unsalted butter, melted
2 large eggs
1 large egg yolk
2/3 cup(s) confectioners' sugar
1/4 teaspoon(s) vanilla
1. Make the dough:
Coat a large bowl with oil and set aside. Combine the 1 cup milk, yeast, and the 1 teaspoon sugar in a small bowl and let stand until bubbly. Combine the flours, remaining sugar, raisins, candied peels, salt, and spices in the bowl of a standing mixer fitted with a dough hook (or in a large mixing bowl) and mix on low speed. Add the butter, 2 eggs, and the yeast mixture and continue to mix until a sticky dough forms -- about 3 minutes. Transfer the dough to a lightly floured surface and knead by hand until smooth -- about 5 minutes. (If dough has been combined by hand, increase kneading time to 10 minutes.) Form the dough into a ball, place it in the prepared bowl, and turn to coat all sides with oil. Cover with a clean, damp kitchen towel and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until it doubles in volume -- about 1 hour.
2. Shape the buns:
Line a baking pan with parchment paper and set aside. Punch the dough down, transfer to a lightly floured surface, and knead for 3 minutes. Divide the dough into 12 equal-sized pieces -- about 3 1/2 ounces each. Shape each piece into a ball and place the balls about 1 inch apart in three rows of four on the prepared pan. Cover and let rise until the buns double in volume and touch one another -- about 1 1/4 hours.
3. Bake the buns:
Preheat oven to 500 degrees F. In a small bowl, combine the egg yolk with 1 tablespoon water. Using a pastry brush, lightly brush the mixture on the top of each bun. Place buns in the lower third of the oven and reduce oven temperature to 400 degrees F. Bake until golden brown -- about 20 minutes. Transfer to a wire rack. In a small bowl, combine the confectioners' sugar, remaining milk, and vanilla. Stir until smooth. When buns have cooled slightly, drizzle a horizontal line across each row of buns followed by a vertical line to form a cross on the crown of each bun.
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