Babka (Polish Easter Bread)

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  • 1/4 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 4 cups plus 3 tablespoons flour, divided
  • 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/2 cup butter (at room temperature)
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon zest
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup warm milk
  • 1 cup raisins
  • 1/3 cup pecans
  • 1/2 cup rum
  • 1/2 cup granulated sugar
  • 3/4 cup orange juice
  • 1 teaspoon lemon juice


  1. Mix water with yeast; let stand 5 minutes.
  2. Mix 4 cups flour with cinnamon. In bowl with mixer on high, beat butter with sugar until smooth. Beat in yolks, zest and salt. Beat in yeast mixture. Stir in reserved flour mixture alternately with milk. Stir in raisins. Turn dough out onto greased surface. Knead 10 minutes. Place in oiled bowl. Cover; let rise until doubled — 1 1/2 hours.
  3. In blender, finely grind pecans with remaining flour. Butter 12-cup Bundt pan; flour pan with pecan mixture. Turn dough out onto floured surface; do not punch down. Form into 16-inch long strips; transfer to pan. Cover; let rise 1 hour.
  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees F. Bake for 45 minutes.
  5. Cool in pan on rack 10 minutes.
  6. Remove from pan; brush with rum.
  7. Boil sugar with orange and lemon juices until syrupy, about 5 minutes; brush over warm Babka.

Yield: 16 servings

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