Polish Easter Bread with Cardamom

I grew up at the end of a 1/2 mile dirt road in the country.  Half way between the bus stop and our house lived a wonderful Polish woman we called Bobshi (Polish Grandma).  She treated us like her own grandchildren, attending our school events, babysitting when my parents needed help, pressing coins in our palms when we reached milestones and looking after us so that we weren't home alone in the afternoons.  Everyday after we got off the school bus we would run to Bobshi's house and she would have snacks ready for us.  Snacks could be cookies, blini pancakes, her special fermented raspberry sauce with ice cream and occasionally homemade bread.  Bopshi made the most delicious Polish Easter Bread. 

Happy Easter!

Polish Easter Bread

In bowl of standing mixer combine the following:

¼ cup sugar
1cup warm milk (approximately 104 degrees F)
½ cup unsalted butter melted and cooled
¾ cup flour
2 ½ teaspoons yeast

Stir and allow the yeast to begin causing the mixture to bubble.

Add and mix with paddle attachment:

¾ cup sugar
5 eggs
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon vanilla
½ teaspoon crushed cardamom (not the pods just the black seeds from inside)
1 tablespoon lemon zest

Begin adding flour (a total of 4 – 5 cups) 1 cup at a time, changing to the dough hook when the dough becomes less like batter.  The amount of flour you need to add depends a lot on the humidity and other factors.  The last time I made this I needed 5 ½ cups.  What your are really looking for is a nice soft supple texture, similar to a woman’s breast.

Add ¼ cup white raisins after all your flour is worked in

This dough needs to rise two times.  The first rise can be in the mixing bowl, lightly covered with a cloth towel until the dough doubles in size.  The second rise is after the loaves are formed.

I made two large loaves with this recipe.  To make the decorative braid, slash off about ¼ of the dough and divide into three pieces.  Roll the three pieces into three long strands and braid together.  Form the rest of the dough into the shape of your pan (only slightly smaller) and wrap the braid around your dough.  Trim or tuck in to make it fit.  I glazed the dough with an egg wash just before baking.

Bake at 350 degrees F for about 35 – 40 minutes depending on the size of your loaves.


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