Kołaczyki means little wheels from the word koła which means wheels.
In a previous post – Bułeczki – Sweet Yeast Buns– I gave a recipe for basic sweet yeastdough – since then I have tried out a slightly different recipe – nearly the same ingredients but a slightly different method – and I think these turned out to be the best yeast buns I have ever made – so this is – Basic sweet yeast dough version two.
A few reminders when using yeast in baking
Learn to be patient – you cannot control the timings exactly with yeast, it depends on the temperature of the room and the flour used and other variables.
Do yeast baking on a day you are planning to be in & have other things to do, but ones you can break off from when needed.
Heat the milk so it is at body temperature – use the finger test – too hot and you will kill the yeast – too cold is okay – it will just take longer.
An egg glaze often burns too quickly – I have found an egg white or egg white & water glaze gives a better result.
Older Polish recipes use fresh yeast. I have used dried yeast and have had very good results. (I have not tried using easy bake yeast for this recipe).
Basic Sweet Yeast Dough Version 2
Leaven – Starter
100g plain flour
30g fresh yeast or 15-20g dried yeast
Rest of ingredients
3 egg yolks
50g melted butter or block margarine
400g plain flour
1/4 tsp salt
Zest of 1 lemon
2-3 drops of vanilla essence
Save 1 egg white for use as a wash on the buns.
Warm the milk slightly – so it is just warm to the touch – and add the yeast and mix together.
Put the flour in to a bowl and add the milk and yeast mix it all together and leave it covered until it is double in size.
Melt the butter and leave it to cool.
Whisk the yolks and sugar until they are pale and fluffy.
Grease 2 baking sheets – You should get around 15 buns. – invite people round!
Into a large bowl put: the flour and the salt, the yeast starter, the yolk mixture, the zest of a lemon, the vanilla essence and the milk.
Mix it all together so that you get a soft dough that comes away from the side of the bowl – you do not have to knead it.
Then work in the melted butter (this is the hardest part) until it is all incorporated and you have a uniform shiny dough.
Cover the dough with a cloth and leave this to rise until it is double in size.
Onto a floured surface place the dough and form it into a rectangle and then roll this out until it is around 2cm thick.
Using a 8cm diameter cutter cut out circles of dough and place them on the greased baking sheets, leaving room for the dough to rise.
Gather together the left over dough and repeat the process.
Cover the trays and leave the circles to rise and double in size.
Pre heat the oven to GM5 – 190ºC
Use a clean napkin or tea towel and cover the base of a tumbler.
Use the covered tumbler and press down on the centre of each circle to form an indentation into which you will put a filling.
Babka is the name of a Polish cake. The name means grandmother and it is thought to refer to the the shape of the cake which is round and dumpy or tall and tapered and looks like the full and pleated skirts found in Polish costumes.
A yeast babka is a classic Polish cake. It is usually made with the addition of some dried fruits or peel.
A yeast babka is traditional for Easter Sunday.
My mother never had much success with making yeast cakes and so abandoned the process.
In the past I have tried to make a yeast babka also without much success.
Once I started writing this blog I went back to my old Polish cookery book – “my bible”
Kuchnia Polska – Polish Kitchen or Polish Cookery – 15th edition published in 1971.
I used one of the recipes from this book and the result was wonderful!
I have now realised where I was going wrong:
I had been treating this cake as if I was making bread and in fact the technique is quite different.
You have to use ordinary plain flour not strong flour.
The mixture is a batter – you do not knead it.
You have to have lots of patience – the yeast can take hours and hours to rise.
The yeast will rise even in a coldish kitchen – it just takes a long time – even overnight or in the fridge.
I used dried yeast for this recipe as that is easier for me and nearer to using fresh yeast.
I am sure you can adapt this to use the quick action yeast although I have not tried this myself.
100g plain flour
250 ml of milk
50g of fresh yeast or 25g of dried yeast
25g of granulated sugar
Rest of cake
5 egg yolks
150g of granulated sugar
400g of plain flour
pinch of salt
2 drops of vanilla essence
100g of melted butter or margarine
50g of raisins or sultanas
First make the starter
Mix together the yeast and sugar.
Add this to the milk and flour.
Leave in to bubble and rise to around double its size.
Grease and flour a babka tin
Pre-heat the oven to GM5
Place the egg yolks and the sugar in a bowl and whisk until they are pale and creamy.
Add the rest of the flour, the risen starter, the pinch of salt and the drops of vanilla essence and mix it all together.
Add the melted butter a little at a time, mixing it in after each addition.
Add the raisins or sultanas and mix them well in so you have a unified mixture.
Place the mixture in the prepared tin – it should fill around a 1/3rd of the tin.
Cover the tin with a clean tea towel and leave the mixture to rise and nearly fill the tin.
This can take several hours.
Bake in the oven for around 40 to 45 minutes.
Leave to cool and then carefully remove out of the tin.
Dust with icing sugar.
The tea plates are Greenway Hostess designed by John Russell 1960 – 1979.
The babka for Easter is normally glazed with a thin icing made with lemon juice & icing sugar or instead of lemon juice you can use vanilla essence and a little water or you can use rum.
Also prior to this glaze you can make a poncz (this word originates from the English word punch) and drizzle this over the babka.
A rum poncz can be made from around 150ml of weak black tea, 45 ml of rum, 1 to 2 tablespoons of granulated sugar and a squeeze of lemon juice. These are mixed together until the sugar has dissolved. (You can use tepid tea to dissolve the sugar but not too hot to evaporate the rum.)
A lemon poncz can be make from the juice of a lemon and around 2 tablespoons of icing sugar.
A yeast cake which is fresh will not absorb as much of the liquid poncz, so if you have time you can made this the day before you want add the poncz or wait for several hours at least.
I am hoping to make a yeast babka for Easter with a glaze and will include photos of this in my post for Easter.