Babka, which literally means "grandmother" in Polish, probably got the name because its shape is reminiscent of an old woman's wide, swirling skirts.
Babka is a slightly sweet yeast bread similar to Italian panettone that can be made with rum-soaked raisins, and iced or left plain. It's an Easter favorite.
Traditional babka is made with a staggering number of egg yolks. This recipe is lighter on the cholesterol load, requires no kneading and only takes one rise. Here are more Eastern European Babka Recipes.
See these Easter Bread Recipes Across Eastern Europe.
Here's a larger photo of easy Polish babka
Prep Time: 15 minutes
Cook Time: 1 hour
1 rise: 1 hour, 30 minutes
Total Time: 2 hours, 45 minutes
Yield: 1 (10-inch) Polish Easter Babka
- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water (no hotter than 110 degrees)
- 1 cup scalded milk
- 6 ounces (1 1/2 sticks) butter
- 3/4 cup sugar
- 1/2 teaspoon salt (if using unsalted butter, increase salt to 1 teaspoon)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 3 large beaten eggs
- 4 1/4 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 tablespoons lemon zest (optional)
- 1/2 to 1 cup light or dark raisins
- Confectioners' sugar (optional)
- Icing: (optional)
- 2/3 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 tablespoons lemon juice
- 1 tablespoon boiling water
- In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Place butter, sugar and salt in a large bowl or stand mixer, and pour the scalded milk over it. Using the paddle attachment, mix until butter has melted and milk has cooled to 110 degrees or below. Mix in the vanilla and eggs. Add yeast and mix until well combined.
- Add the flour, lemon zest (if using), and raisins and mix thoroughly. The dough will be of a thick cake batter consistency.
- Heat oven to 350 degrees. Lightly coat a 10-inch babka pan, kugelhopf pan, Turk's head pan (turban pan), Bundt pan or tube pan with cooking spray. Pour batter into prepared pan and cover lightly with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until double in bulk or until dough reaches the top of the pan but no higher.
- Bake about 40-45 minutes or until toothpick inserted near center comes out clean, or until instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees.
- Cool on a wire rack and dust with confectioners' sugar before serving or, when cake is cool, drizzle with a mixture of confectioners' sugar, lemon juice and boiling water.