We will be doing our usual egg painting and dyeing this weekend, but I wanted to share this bread tradition from my family. This bread was a special treat from my childhood. If we were visiting my grandmother, it was always out in pretty swirly slices after mealtimes, and I would often grab some to snack on while I played in the apple orchard. If we weren’t visiting, there was always a package that arrived every Christmas and Easter with rolls of this bread that she had baked and sent to us.
My grandmother was French, but she married into a Slovak family, and this was one of their Easter traditions. I have modified the recipe slightly by using coconut sugar and honey instead of regular sugar. The dough has to rise overnight, so start on Saturday if you want to have Easter bread for Easter. It was SO good, warm from the oven, that it was all I could do to keep everyone from eating it before I had taken a few pictures!
Slovenian Poppy Seed Easter Bread
1 cup (8 ounces) butter
2 Tablespoons coconut sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
5 cups flour
1/2 cup sour cream
1/4 cup warm water
1/2 cup cream
3 egg yolks
1 Tablespoon yeast
- Melt butter, and while it is cooling, sift together the sugar, salt and flour.
- When the butter is mostly cool, mix it with the sour cream, cream and warm water.
- Stir in the egg yolks one at a time, and then the yeast.
- Add the flour mixture and knead into a smooth dough, cover and refrigerate overnight.
- In the morning, take the bread out of the fridge and allow the dough to soften for 10-20 minutes.
- When it seems stiff but workable, start preheating the oven to 375 F, and flour a work surface.
- Divide the dough into quarters, and roll out each quarter about 1/4 inch thick. Allow to rise for 20 minutes while you make the filling:
Poppy Seed Filling:
2 1/2 cups poppy seeds
1/2 cup water
1 cup honey
1/4 teaspoon salt
1/2 cup raisins
Also have on hand – one beaten egg to brush on the outside of the loaves.
- Put the poppy seeds, water, salt and honey into a pot and bring to a boil.
- Boil for 5 minutes, stirring constantly. Keep the raisins aside for when the breads are being filled.
- Divide the filling between the four rolled-out rounds of dough, and spread it evenly with the back of a spoon. Sprinkle the raisins on, and roll up the breads, starting from one side. Gently press the ends to seal. Brush with beaten egg.
- Place loaves on a buttered baking sheet, or a cookie pan lined with parchment paper, and bake for 25-30 minutes, or until nicely browned. Slice about 1/2 inch thick with a sharp knife.