As a kid, Easter was an occasion second only to Halloween, summoning the kind of unadulterated delight that can only come from hunting your own living room for hordes of chocolate. Yet it was the Babka Ukrainian Easter bread that I really looked forward to...
Although bread is not typically the type of fare that kids yearn for, this bread was different. It was Ukrainian Babka Easter bread. I have preserved all that is wonderful about this Traditional Ukrainian Babka recipe, but made it easier by mixing the dough in the bread machine!
And like any other child, I longed for kid food; candy, cakes, cookies, mac & cheese, pizza and sugary cereals, all of which happened to be the very same foods my mother had declared a moratorium on.
Except at Halloween and Easter. These were shining days for us – the days of junk food freedom. Emancipated from the shackles of parental food domination, we completely went to town on the sweet stuff; scarfing down that waxy, second-rate chocolate at every opportunity. We ate chocolate for breakfast, dessert and every snack in between, until just one more chocolate egg made us cry ‘uncle’.
So, in order to trump Easter chocolate, this was indeed, a special bread. You know, the kind of special that only comes once a year? The kind of special that infiltrates every fervent food thought in anticipation of the annual event it's served at?
Of course, I am talking about Babka Ukrainian Easter bread - that light, buttery, slightly sweet, delicate cake-like type of Ukrainian Easter bread; bread that sent me reeling with the kind of gastronomical gratification only that breed of special food is capable of evoking. Then luring me back to the table, sawing off hunk after glorious flaky hunk, heaping with slabs of semi-solid butter, barely clinging to its delicate crumbs; the Easter chocolate riding shot-gun….for now.
And after the celebration had finally ceased, ballooning above the belt, yet sated for another year, only then would I turn back to my Easter chocolate for consolation.
🍞Why bread is important to Ukrainians
Bread is a big deal!
To Ukrainians, bread is kind of a big deal. In fact, Ukrainians regard bread as one of the holiest of foods. Not only is it brought to church on Easter Sunday as an offering, it used to greet honored guests at home. Ukrainians celebrate almost every holiday and special occasion (like weddings and anniversaries) with bread. And if you ever have the honor of attending a traditional Ukrainian wedding, you will marvel at the towers of elaborately decorated breads.
I carry on the tradition and make this traditional Ukrainian bread for my family now. However, unlike those that seek solace in the art of making homemade bread, I preferred when my Baba made Babka for me. Although I love to bake, I can do without the hard labor of bread making. I have weak wrists – really, it’s true! But I love this traditional Easter bread and that's why I make Bread Machine Babka.
For this Ukrainian Easter Babka recipe, you'll need:
- whole eggs
- white granulated sugar
- powdered milk
- orange juice
- orange zest
- all-purpose flour
- bread machine yeast
*see recipe card for quantities
- Raisins - You can use any type of raisins (regular, sultana, or golden raisins work best). However, not everyone is a fan, so skip them if you prefer.
- Gluten free option: Replace all- purpose flour with: 3 and ⅔ cups rice flour
- Orange flavor - you can use fresh lemon juice and lemon zest instead (although I highly recommend the orange flavor)!
💭 Top tips
- How to cool: Because the loaves are so delicate, when you remove them from the oven, cool slightly, gently remove them from tins and instead of using the traditional wire rack, you'll want to put them onto pillows covered with tea towels. * This ensures they cool without getting dented or squished. Gently rotate them once (after about 10 minutes).
- Knowing when it's done:
- The old-fashioned way: Remove from the oven and knock on the bottom of the tin with your knuckles. If done, it will sound hollow when tapped.
- The best way: use a thermometer to assess the doneness of breads, freeform loaves, and soft rolls. A temperature of 190°F at the center will yield bread that's fully baked. I use this instant read thermometer- (affiliate link) -it's great for everything food related!
You will need a bread machine to make the dough for this sweet bread. You will also need a bread knife. (affiliate links)
What type of cans to use for Easter Babka: use tomato juice tins (about 1 litre - about 32-oz cans), as it has become increasingly difficult to find coffee tins (most are made out of a plastic-type material) now. *Just make sure you use something that is not coated (this usually looks white inside)
Store Babka Easter Bread at room temperature for up to 5 days in an airtight container (or Ziplock freezer bag)
Freezing: This bread machine Babka freezes really well. The best way to prep it for freezing is to wrap it in plastic wrap (I use Glad press n' seal wrap) and place it in a Ziplock freezer bag. It will last for at least 3 months in your freezer.
Making babka with a bread machine is so much easier and it tastes the same as traditional babka. So if you're looking for an Easter Babka recipe, you'll love this Bread Machine Ukrainian Babka!
Follow my Ukrainian Food Board on Pinterest
And if you're looking for more Ukrainian Easter bread, check out my Bread Maker Paska Easter bread!
And my Ukrainian Easter Dove Tutorial
And you'll want to put my Bread Machine Kolach in your back pocket for Christmas!
And be sure to check out my other Ukrainian Easter Recipes!
Did you make this babka bread recipe? Please RATE THE RECIPE BELOW.
Here's what others are saying: "Hi! I have cooked this bread in my machine several times and my Polish Mother in law approved! It seems to be just fine on the regular basic bread with a medium crust cycle on my old West Bend!
Thank you for sharing this recipe!" ⭐⭐⭐⭐⭐
Please SUBSCRIBE (get my FREE E-cookbook) and be sure to FOLLOW ME on FACEBOOK, TWITTER, INSTAGRAM and PINTEREST!
📋 Ukrainian Babka Recipe (Bread Machine)
- 1 egg
- 3 egg yolks
- 4 tablespoon melted butter
- 3 tablespoon sugar
- 3 tablespoon powdered milk
- ½ teaspoon salt
- 2 tablespoon orange juice
- 1 tablespoon grated orange zest
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- 1 cup water (*minus 1 tbsp)
- 3 ¾ cup flour * I use all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon bread maker yeast
- 1 cup raisins washed
- 3 egg whites beaten
- 3 large tomato juice (48 oz /1.36 L) or 5- 500 g/l lb coffee tins
- ¼ cup shortening
- In a medium bowl, beat egg, egg yolks, butter, sugar, salt, milk powder, orange juice, orange zest, and vanilla. Pour into the bread maker. Add 1 cup of lukewarm water, minus 1 tbsp.
- Add flour, then form a small crater with your finger in the top of the flour and pour yeast into this crater. *Do not dig the hole so deep that the liquid comes through; make sure the yeast ONLY touches the flour and not any of the liquid
- Set bread machine on dough cycle and when ‘add fruit/ingredients’ signal goes off, add raisins.
- When dough cycle is complete (usually about 1 hours and 20 minutes in the bread maker), remove bread dough from bread machine.
- Prepare 3 juice tins (I use 48 oz /1.36 L tomato juice tins) by greasing generously with shortening and divide dough into 3 balls. Place balls into 3 juice tins and let dough rise until double in bulk (in warm spot). (about 45 mins- 1 hour)
- Beat egg whites until foamy and brush tops of loaves.
- Baking time: Bake in preheated oven on low rack (oven temperature should be 375 degrees F (190 degrees C) ) for 20 – 25 minutes or until golden brown on top (if tops of loaves are browning too fast, cover with aluminum foil)
- Check for doneness: The old-fashioned way: Remove from oven and knock on the bottom of the tin with your knuckles. If done, it will sound hollow when tapped.The best way: use a thermometer to assess the doneness of breads, freeform loaves, and soft rolls. A temperature of 190°F at the center will yield bread that's fully baked. I use this instant read thermometer- (affiliate link) -it's great for everything food related!
- Remove baked loaves from oven, cool slightly and remove from tins onto pillows covered with tea towels.
- Slice cooled loaves in rounds with a bread knife or sharp knife, then serve with butter, if desired.
There's something very charming about the way that these form so perfectly to the shape of the tomato juice cans. I don't know what it is exactly, but it somehow makes the loaves look so exact and rustic at the same time. I kinda dig it. And I TOTALLY want a slice. You're definitely making me hanker for some good Ukrainian eats (a part of my Alberta upbringing, if not my actual heritage... lol).
Thanks, Sean! If you have never tried this bread, it's definitely worth giving it a go!
Hi looks good can’t you cook it in the machine as one big loaf thanks georgette
Hi Georgette: thanks? No, I don’t think cooking it in the machine would work due to the rising time required between preparing the dough and baking.
Hi! I have cooked this bread in my machine several times and my Polish Mother in law approved! It seems to be just fine on the regular basic bread with a medium crust cycle on my old West Bend!
Thank you for sharing this recipe!
That's great, Samantha! That is high approval 🙂
Is this 8 loaves ?
No, it's 3 loaves - see directions (grease 3 tins). 8 servings approx, depending on how much you have. Happy Easter!
Thank you for this recipe! I will try first time.
1 cup for flour is how many oz?
Hi Irina: A cup would be 4.5 oz weight for flour. Enjoy!
Hi. I make Babkas and sell them. This recipe is #1. I have made over 50 Babkas using this recipe and everyone loves it. Thank you for posting. My next project to try is fancy Paska. I wish I knew how to attach pictures on here; I would have posted a few.
Glad to hear that, Darcy! Thanks for sharing your success with the recipe!
Turned out great! Instead of using orange jest I used turmeric for colouring.
So glad it turned out great for you!
Delicious... the nuns at my hometown Polish church would make babka and have tried so many recipes to replicate it. Yours is just about perfect..
Can a loaf be frozen?
Hi Joanne: I'm sooo glad to hear this! Yes, I freeze them all the time. The best way is to wrap it in Glad press n' seal then put that in a ziploc freezer bag.
What measurements do you use if using milk instead of powdered milk. Would you eliminate the water then?
You could try it, but I haven't made it with regular milk. However, here's what I would do (according to substitution guidelines): cut the water completely out and use 3/4 cup milk. Be sure to add that first, as you would the water. Please come back and tell me how it turned out! Good luck and Happy Easter!
Hi Terri, Beautiful Babkas. How do you get your tops to stay so rounded. Mine kind of pop over to one side.
Thank you, Leona!
Are you using this recipe? Are you putting the bread on the lower oven rack (it can rise too quickly if it's on a higher oven rack) I only use a 1 lb loaf recipe between 3 large (48 oz) tins. I think you may be either putting too much dough in each tin, your tins aren't large enough or you let it rise too much before baking (it should only be double the size). Those are possible scenarios to investigate. Good luck!
PS: I need to add some process shots to this post! 🙂