The colors have changed, the air has become cool and crisp, the days are getting shorter and in the blink of an eye fall has arrived. For me that can mean only one thing; it is time to dust off the baking pans, dig out old recipe cards, preheat the oven and let the baking season begin.
With family & friends gathering for Thanksgiving and all those holiday parties fast approaching I find that you will never go wrong presenting a party host with freshly baked bread.
Following is my Polish family’s bread recipe handed down through five generations.
I make this 3-4 times a year, Thanksgiving, Christmas, Easter and often during the summer, simply to satisfy a craving, making it a special treat each time its unique aroma infiltrates my kitchen.
Although it is an easy recipe you may have to visit your favorite spice shop to procure a lesser used spice, nigella. Nigella is misleadingly referred to as “black cumin”, “black caraway” and “black onion seed” and it is often confused with “black sesame seeds”, however there is no botanical relation between nigella and any of these plants.
In the U.S., nigella is often known as charnushka, deriving from the Polish name czarnuszka and/or the Russian name chernushka.
There are many ways to enjoy this bread:
Warm and plain out of the oven
As a sandwich vessel, it pairs especially well with Ham
Toasted with butter and/or peanut butter & jelly
Don’t be afraid to use it for your morning French Toast
Bragiel family Bread recipe
(yield, three 1 pound or two 1 ½ pound loaves)
6 ½ cup all purpose flour
1 ½ cups whole milk
1 cup + 2 tablespoons warm water (100 degrees)
4 tablespoons unsalted butter
½ cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
½ cup golden raisins
2 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon Czarnuszka seeds
1 package active dry yeast
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
In a small dish combine yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and 2 tablespoons warm water. Set aside to bloom.
In a small sauce pan combine milk, butter, sugar and czarnushka seeds, warm to 175 degrees. This allows the butter to melt and the seeds to steep in the mixture, set aside and allow to cool to room temperature.
In a mixing bowl, combine flour, salt and yeast mix. Slowly incorporate 1/2 cup of water, eggs and milk mixture. Use the remaining 1/2 cup (+/-) water to bring the dough together. Kneed for 5 to 10 minutes slowly incorporating the raisins. Cover bowl, place in a warm place and let rise.
Once doubled, divide dough into greased bread pans, again cover and set aside to double in size. Once doubled brush tops of loaves liberally with topping recipe and bake for 45-60 minutes. Turn out on a cooling rack and allow to cool at least an hour before cutting.
1 egg yolk
8 ounce cottage cheese
2 tablespoons sugar
Combine ingredients and puree with a hand blender, gently brush mixture on bread tops prior to baking.
Richard Bragiel is the Executive Chef/Owner of Mangia Tutto Pizzeria e Ristorante, a casual/fine dining Italian Restaurant & Pizzeria located at 200 N Stewart St. in downtown Carson City.