Tuesday, April 17, 2012

Babka Easter Bread - a little late!

Babka bread originally came to this country from Poland and is traditionally served at Easter.  There are many recipes available.  This is my super-healthy adaptation.


Babka Easter Bread
5.5 cups sprouted whole wheat flour
1/2 cup raw milk, scalded
2 cups filtered water, divided
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup extra-virgin coconut oil
1/2 cup raw honey
2 pastured eggs
1/2 cup Rapadura
1 Tablespoon cocoa
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon

Grease 2 medium-sized loaf pans with coconut oil.

Measure the flour into a large bowl.  Stir in the salt.


Pour milk into a small saucepan and scald (heat gently until bubbles form all around the edges) and add the coconut oil to allow it to melt.  Add the honey and when the mixture is lukewarm, add the eggs and beat together.  


Heat ¼ cup water to 110 – 115 degrees F.  Sprinkle the yeast onto the warm water and stir with a fork.


Add the milk mixture, 1 ¾ cups more water and the yeast/water mixture to the bowl containing the flour and salt.

Wash and dry the bowl and grease well with more coconut oil.

Stir thoroughly, and if need be, add more sprouted whole wheat flour to make a soft kneadable dough.

Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead for 10 minutes, adding more bits of flour to prevent sticking. 

When the dough is springy and elastic, place it in the greased bowl, rub a little more coconut oil over the top and cover the bowl tightly with plastic wrap.

Allow to raise until it doubles in bulk in a warm place. (80 degrees F.)  You can tell when it is double if when you poke it with your finger, it “sighs” and the hole does not fill back in.  Watch it carefully.  You don’t want it to rise beyond that point.

Press the dough down to release the gas, re-cover, place in your warm place again and allow it to raise for 30 more minutes.

Flour your work surface (continue to use the sprouted wheat flour) and pour the dough out.  Do not handle the dough any more than necessary.  Cut it in half and place the extra piece back in the bowl.
Using a rolling pin, roll the dough to approximately a 20 inch by 10 inch rectangle.

Combine the Rapadura, cocoa and cinnamon.  Sprinkle evenly over the dough rectangle.

Now… working from one short end, “accordion – fold” the dough, trying to get the individual folds to be about 3 inches in height.  When you get near to the end of the dough piece, use the unfolded part to wrap across the top of the folds.  Pinch it along underneath, pinch and tuck the ends under and place it in a bread pan, seam side down. The following pictures show the process.

Repeat with the second piece of dough.

Here is what it looks like when it is ready to go into the oven.


The reason you should not handle it anymore than necessary, is that as it raises, gas bubbles are formed in little pockets of gluten fibers.  You want to maintain those little pockets and not rip them apart.  This is particularly important when using dough made from sprouted wheat flour, as it is more tender.

Start pre-heating your oven to 350 degrees F.  Set the 2 loaf pans on top of the stove.

Allow to raise until it doubles, and is springy when you poke it.

Place both loaves in the oven and bake for 50 minutes.  Remove from oven.  Remove from pans and cool on wire rack for at least 20 minutes before slicing.

Slice thickly and serve with plenty of nice butter!

 If you like, you can add raisins or other dried fruit and/or chopped nuts when you sprinkle on the cocoa/cinnamon mixture.

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