Ukrainian Rich Babka




3 cakes fresh yeast
1 tbsp. sugar
2 cups milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
2 tbsp. flour
15 egg yolks
2 cups confectioners' sugar, sifted
8 cups flour, sifted
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. vanilla
1 lemon, grated rind of
1-1/4 cup butter, softened
1 cup golden raisins, lightly floured


Mix yeast cakes, 1 tbs. sugar, and 2 tbs. flour in 2 cups lukewarm milk; stir until dissolved. Cover bowl and let stand in warm place to work until bubbly, about 1-1/2 hours.

Beat the egg yolks until thick; add confectioners' sugar, mixing in until thoroughly blended. Add yeast mixture to yolk mixture; mix well. Stir in flour, salt, vanilla, and grated lemon rind; knead together until the mixture is smooth. Add the softened butter, kneading it in a little at a time. Continue kneading the dough until it no longer sticks to your hands. Knead in raisins, Cover with plastic wrap and a bath towel and set in a warm place to rise until doubled in height.

Punch dough down to release air. Grease hands with butter and shape dough to fit greased round baking containers (four 1-lb coffee cans work well) approximately 1/3 full. Let rise until doubled in height. Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F for 8 minutes; turn oven down to 300°F and continue baking for 45 minutes.

Author's Comments

Variation: if desired, use only 1/2 cup raisins and add 2 ounces blanched chopped almonds and 2 ounces finely diced candied orange peel; mix these in near the end of kneading.

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