Placek (Polish Christmas Bread)
Makes 3 loaves
- 1 1/4 cups milk
- 2 packages Rapid Rise dry yeast
- 2 1/4 cups plus 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar
- 8 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
- Nonstick cooking spray
- 2 1/2 sticks (1 1/4 cups) unsalted butter, plus more for bowl and pans
- Zest of 1/2 orange
- 5 large eggs
- 1/2 to 1 1/2 cups golden raisins
- Heat milk in a small saucepan until it reaches 110 degrees [I did this in the microwave]. Remove from heat; stir in yeast and 1 1/2 tablespoons sugar until completely dissolved. Let stand until foamy, 10 to 15 minutes.
- Transfer yeast mixture to a stainless steel bowl. Add 2 cups flour and stir to combine. Spray a piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and cover dough. Cover parchment with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, 30 minutes to 1 hour. [I didn't see the use of the parchment paper, it just took the top layer of dough and cost me more.]
- Meanwhile, in the bowl of an electric mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, beat together 1 1/2 sticks butter, 1 1/4 cups sugar, orange zest, eggs, and 2 cups flour.
- Change mixer attachment to a dough hook and add yeast mixture to mixer bowl. Mix together on low. With the mixer running, slowly add 2 cups flour and raisins. Butter a large bowl and add dough. Spray a piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and cover dough. Let rise until doubled, 1 1/2 to 2 1/2 hours.
- Meanwhile, in a medium bowl, use a fork to mix together remaining 2 cups flour, 1 stick butter, and 1 cup sugar until crumbly.
- Butter three 9-by-5-by-3-inch (8-cup) loaf pans and divide dough evenly between them; top each with crumbs. Spray a piece of parchment paper with cooking spray and cover dough; let rise until rounded over the top.
- Preheat oven to 325 degrees. Transfer placek to oven and bake until golden brown, 35 to 40 minutes. Let cool for 1 hour in pan before removing. Store at room temperature, up to 1 week.
I got the tags for homemade gifts from Sew Mama Sew blog.