Friday, April 22, 2011

Our Easter preparations

Today we're getting stuff ready for our traditional Easter basket.

Making kraszanki

Half of the eggs we'll be doing this year were cooked with onion skins.  This evening, we'll be doing tea dyed eggs that will be shelled for the basket.

The bread is always the centerpiece of our basket.

Our Easter bread

Here is our basic bread recipe, with the variations I did below.

For 2 loaves.

1-2 Tbsp yeast (preferably the old style active dry yeast, not the quick rise stuff)
1-4 Tbsp sweetener
1/4 cup butter or oil (optional)
2 1/4 - 2 3/4 cups warm liquid
2 tsp salt
6-8 cups (whole wheat or blend)

Dissolve yeast in warm liquid (water, milk, broth, potato water, or the liquid from making yogurt cheese) with 1 tsp sweetener (honey, sugar or molasses)
After 5-10 minutes, add remaining sweetener, salt, butter and 3 cups flour.
Beat at medium speed with mixer for 2 minutes, or 200 strokes with a wooden spoon
Add 1 more cup flour and beat briefly.
Add remaining flour until a soft dough results.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface and knead until elastic and smooth.
Please dough in oiled bowl.  Turn to oil all sides, cover lightly and place in a warm spot to rise until doubled.
Punch down dough and knead briefly.  Shape into loaves and place into oiled loaf pans.  Cover lightly and allow to rise until the dough reached the top of the loaf pans.
Back in oven preheated to 350F (325F if using glass pans), in centre rack, for about 35 minutes.
Cool on racks.

Our variation:

For sweetener, we used plain granulated sugar.  For the liquid, we used 1 cup warm water to proof the yeast in the bowl of our mixer (I have a KitchenAide with a dough hook).  In a tiny bowl, I used 1 Tbsp of warm water to soak the saffron threads.  While those were doing their thing, I scalded 1 cup of milk and melted 1/4 cup butter into it.  Two eggs were also added (the equivalent of about 1/2 cup liquid).

For more photos of our Easter preparations, check out my flickr account.

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