The Daring Bakers April 2014 Challenge: Easter Bread

braided Polish Easter bread - Chalka 

slice of chalka - Polish Easter bread

The April Daring Baker’s Challenge was hosted by Wolf of Wolf’s Den. She challenged us to Spring into our kitchens and make Easter breads reflecting cultures around the world.

Choosing an Easter Bread was almost as challenging as baking it. Since The Music Man is Polish, I decided to make Chalka, one of several Polish Easter breads. This was fairly easy to make, and probably the biggest challenge was to not stuff my face with it because it is so good! After my French bread fiasco I was bread-shy, but there was nothing to worry about. This mixed easily, rose well, baked beautifully, and was delicious. This was not a time-consuming recipe, and I was able to fit all the steps in between my gardening chores, making for a very efficient day and a fun bread-baking experience.

I found my recipe for Chalka at Jenny’s Cookbook, and followed it almost exactly. I got two fairly large braided loaves out of this recipe. I did all of the mixing and kneading in my KitchenAid. Be warned – this dough is very sticky!

 

Chalka – Polish Easter Bread

Ingredients

  • 1 cup milk
  • 1 stick butter ((1/2 cup))
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4-1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 5-1/2 cups flour (All purpose or bread flour. I used bread flour.)
  • 1 cup raisins (I used half golden, half regular, but you can substitute other dried fruit.)
  • 1 egg for glazing (beaten)

Directions

Step 1
Heat milk to a simmer in a saucepan.
Step 2
Remove from heat and add butter, sugar, and salt.
Step 3
Set milk mixture aside to cool. (Too hot and it will kill your yeast.)
Step 4
In the bowl of your mixer, mix yeast with warm water and stir until dissolved.
Step 5
Add milk mixture, 2 eggs, and vanilla, and whisk to combine.
Step 6
Add 3 cups of flour, and beat until smooth using the paddle attachment of your mixer.
Step 7
Add raisins and remaining flour.
Step 8
Switch to your dough hook.
Step 9
Mix to form a sticky dough and continue to knead for about 5 minutes.
Step 10
Turn into a lightly oiled bowl and rub top of dough with a small amount of oil.
Step 11
Cover with plastic wrap and set in warm place to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.
Step 12
When dough has risen, punch down and divide in half. Divide each piece further into 3 pieces.
Step 13
Roll each piece on a lightly floured board to form a long roll.
Step 14
On parchment paper placed on a baking sheet, braid 3 of the long rolls into a single braid. Repeat with other 3 pieces to form a second braid on another parchment-lined baking pan.
Step 15
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Step 16
Beat remaining egg with a fork or whisk, and brush beaten egg onto tops of loaves.
Step 17
Bake for 30 minutes.
Step 18
Remove from oven and cool on wire racks.

 

 

Comments

  1. Your Chalka looks great!! Congrats on completing the challenge this month :)

  2. Beautiful bread! I’m glad you decided to give bread making a second try, I’d say it was well worth it!

  3. sherilynn says:

    Thanks, Baking Fever, I’m really happy with the results!

  4. sherilynn says:

    Thanks, Wolf! I’m glad I gave it another shot, too. :)

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