A Hungarian family recipe from the 1800's!
Both my grandmas made this sweet bread, so I know that it dates from the late 1800's. They probably got it from their own mothers. They served it for Shabbat (the sabbath) and for other holidays during the year (excepting, of course, Passover, with its food restrictions).
When Tante Grete, my dad's sister, came here from the UK (where she and Uncle Longy lived as soon as they could get out of Austria), she took over the baking from my grandma. I remember that hers was always a bit dry and over-baked. Then my mother started making it after Tante Grete could no longer do so. Mom's bread was good, but she was never comfortable baking bread. Me, I love baking bread, so I grabbed the recipe from Mommy and took off with it. She immediately gave up baking it.
On my mother's side, Zinn Grandma baked it too. In her later years, she also had to watch her fat and cholesterol intake, so she modified the recipe, too. I never had her recipe, but I do remember that it was just as tasty as the full-fat one.
I only make it for Rosh Hashanah and for fast-breaking from Yom Kippur. I've modified it for the way we eat now. The original recipe called for lots of butter, whole milk, sour cream, and all those other lovely, cholesterol-laden goodies. Here is my recipe, adapted for the bread machine, 'cause it kneads better than I ever can.
Note: this is not totally exact. I bake it the way the family did, a bit on the free-form side, but you can easily fix it up if you are so inclined.
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1 heaping TB low-fat sour cream. (don't use the non-fat one; it's awful)
- 1 scant tsp kosher salt (kosher salt has less sodium than regular table salt and tastes better)
- 1/2 cup water - I put the egg and the sour cream into my measuring cup and then add enough water to make it to 1 cup.
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3 cups all purpose flour (more or less, depending on humidity, too much liquid, etc, etc)
- 3 TB dark brown sugar. You can use regular sugar but I like this taste better.
- 3 TB non-fat dry milk.
- 1 tsp sweet butter, cut up into little pieces.
- 1.5 tsp yeast. I usually use only 1 tsp, but this takes forever to rise, so the extra half gives it a bit more oomph
- 1 tsp butter, melted.
- 6 oz mini chocolate chips
- Beat your egg, put it into your measuring cup. Add the sour cream and enough water to make one cup liquid.
- Dump into the bread machine.
- Add the kosher salt, and the vanilla extract.
- Measure in 3 cups of all purpose flour.
- Add the brown sugar, the milk powder and the sweet butter
- Make a little indentation in the top and put in your yeast.
- Put your bread machine on the "knead" cycle. Don't even think of baking this in the machine. Ever.
- Watch it as it kneads. If it's too wet, add little bits of flour until the dough cleans the sides of the machine. I do this by sprinkling flour onto the soggy dough while it kneads. You want it just to clear the sides, not too soggy but also not too dry. As it's kneading, it should become as smooth and soft as a baby's bottom. That's the egg at work here. Yeah, egg!
- Let it rise to the top of the pan. This will take considerably longer than when the machine dings. All that sweetening gives it a long, long rise. It's OK. If you have to run out to do other things, you can always deflate the dough, and let it rise again.
- When it's risen, deflate it and place onto a floured dough board, kitchen counter, whatever you use to roll out either pie crusts or bread.
- Spray a Bundt pan with cooking spray or grease it with butter. Make sure you get into all the nooks and crannies; otherwise you'll have to scrub all that out. Yech.
- Roll out your dough. If it resists, let it rest a little bit. Because you are using all-purpose flour rather than bread flour, the dough will roll out so much easier.
- Spread that 1 tsp of melted butter all over it. Yep, just that little bit of butter makes a big difference.
- Spread the chocolate chips all over the dough.
- Roll up tightly, if you can. I never get it tight enough.
- Press the ends together so that it looks like a giant doughnut.
- Place gently into the Bundt pan, cover with a clean kitchen towel, and let rise for 30 min.
- At the end of the 30 minutes, begin heating the oven to 450 degrees F.
- After 15 minutes, the oven should be hot enough.
- Place the pan into the oven, shut the door, and lower the heat to 400 degrees.
- Bake for approx 30 minutes.
- Check to see if the bread is done. I use the "knock on the loaf to hear that hollow sound" method.
- Remove bread from pan and onto a wire rack. Cool off.