Grandma's Polish Sweet Bread


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Heating liquid and taking the temperature is not a multi step process.

Into be honest I’ve never heard of anyone that could not bloom yeast. It is a fundamental process of working with yeast.

I spent hours working on this recipe.

I calculated the baker’s percentages based on your grandmother’s list.

I calculated an amount of each ingredient to create a single loaf based on the baker’s percentages.

I converted the ingredient amounts to volume measurements. Which entailed weighing, the re-measuring by measuring cup each ingredient.

I determined the methods most appropriate to create that open from that you want so badly.

I purchased the ingredients that I didn’t have in my pantry.

I used my time and ingredients to actually bake bread that I cannot even eat.

I took photographs of the process.

I took photographs of equipment.

I took photographs of the finish bread.

I wrote out the recipe in detail so would be able to understand the process.

I looked on the Internet for videos that would demonstrate these techniques for you.

I included links to the videos to demonstrate all the techniques.

I answered dozens of your questions. There’s 159 comments. And the only ones that have been commenting on this link are you and I.

I made the bread exactly as you remembered it and wanted it

After all my work and effort, you’re angry because you cannot bloom yeast. Your inability to do something so fundamental is not something I can fix.

It is not a multi step process. It’s placing a thermometer probe in liquid to look at the temperature. There’s nothing to troubleshoot.

I think my time, effort, and ingredients invested in a project for an total stranger, who is rude because she cannot bloom yeast is a bit much.
 
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It is too bad you feel or read that I was rude, never my intention, all I wrote was what I am experiencing. No fault was pointed at you at all.

I in turn gave you an Old World recipe of Paska, it may have come from a small village in Poland, not to be found even on the web to this day. All the other Paska recipes on the web, did not include the air holes. I know that the recipe was my grandma's, from how she remembered it in the old country. Maybe? Maybe not. Unknown who the baker was.

I gave you the history, a true copy of the original recipe, and detailed description of what this lovely bread should look like.

I gave you personal information as to my grandmothers name, a photo, and the story of when it was given, where it was done, what they did with it by donating it to the church for Bingo, and my cousins opinion as to the look of it. Only we in this family know and I shared that with you. You now have a full history of this bread.

I have thanked you multiple, multiple times throughout the thread.

I have complimented you multiple, multiple times on the thread.

I shared a family recipe with a complete stranger.

I'll get there, I know I will, and again Thank you for all your time, knowledge, and expertise. Your family loves it and will have the recipe for years to come.
 
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It was rude when you demanded my friend take a photograph of the bread. When I explained that my friend is still going through chemotherapy for cancer you knowledged that, yet still asked for a photograph. It turned out he could not eat something that rich so I took it to my sisters house.

I also find it rude when you state that 12 times is quite enough. And then you want me to tell you how much cake yeast to use. The only way I could possibly know how much cake yeast to use would be to actually make it with cake yeast. Trying 12 times may seem like a lot of time. But I put in considerable time and effort. A lot more time than it takes to warm milk and sprinkle yeast over it 12 times.

And frankly if it failed 12 times I would say there something wrong with the yeast. Either it’s dead or it’s instant and not active dry yeast.

The only reason the bread I made from the ingredients list has the open crumb you want is because of the techniques I employed to mix the dough. But if you put all those ingredients into a home mixer it will just bake up looking the same as all the other paska. The reason that you see all that paska on the Internet with a tight closed crumb is those loaves are mixed in a home mixer.

There’s nothing in the recipe to make the large holes in the dough. It’s the mixing process that creates them. Your grandmother had a commercial mixer which is much more powerful so it developed the necessary gluten. A home mixer will not develop the gluten necessary to create the holes. It has to be done by hand, in the same way that open crumb sourdough bread is hand mixed to create the open crumb.
 
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Reading your "conversations" was like a reading a mystery novel. Will Norcalbaker59 be able to condense the recipe for a single loaf? Will the condensed recipe be edible? Will Norcalbaker59 tire of Jean S's questions? Will Norcalbaker59 just give up? I couldn't stop reading. It appears that Nocalbaker59 was successful with the recipe, it's too bad the thread ended on a sour note. I will try this recipe as it sounds very good. Thank you Jean S and Norcalbaker59.
 
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Reading your "conversations" was like a reading a mystery novel. Will Norcalbaker59 be able to condense the recipe for a single loaf? Will the condensed recipe be edible? Will Norcalbaker59 tire of Jean S's questions? Will Norcalbaker59 just give up? I couldn't stop reading. It appears that Nocalbaker59 was successful with the recipe, it's too bad the thread ended on a sour note. I will try this recipe as it sounds very good. Thank you Jean S and Norcalbaker59.
I hope you let me/us know how your bread turned out. I agree this ended on a sour note. I decided not to "argue" the point. I wasn't rude about her sick friend, in fact I understood his grief, I hope he is doing well or at least ok. I also decided not to ask any more questions. I guess this where I turn into a baker or not. I am on my 3rd attempt at the bread, had to adjust a few things, and will plug away at it. As I have repeatedly said I appreciate her breaking down the recipe that is what I was in search for, for decades. While this is an intermediate/advanced recipe she gave me in terms of techniques, as a beginner baker, but a memory of this bread is instilled with me, I will push on. Glad you enjoyed the read and the recipe, grandma would be happy!
 
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Here I am doing research on sweet yeast bread, making sure I'm not about to ask a question that's already been asked and answered, and I come across this amazing thread.

Irony of ironies, my grandmother was a professional baker...from Poland. Unfortunately, she died when I was young, and took all her unwritten, masterpiece recipes to her grave. She knew she was a star in the kitchen, and she tended to be secretive and protective. The bread described in this thread is the bread from my childhood, always with golden raisins. Large, tall slices, with big open holes. Never with twisted decoration. Buttered oven-toast for breakfast, with homemade strawberry jam, was like a visit to heaven. We had this bread mostly around Christian holidays. My family has not had this bread since my grandmother died in the late 60's.

After moving to NYC in the 70's, I found that challah bread with raisins was very similar in texture and flavor, but nothing like my grandmother's bread. I thought that challah is what my grandmother called her bread, but my grandmother was Catholic, so maybe the word she used was chalka (HOW-kah), which has a similar pronunciation. Many years later, while visiting Italy, I realized that panettone conjured memories of my grandmother, once again.

I'm sorry this thread took a negative turn. No good deed goes unpunished. In the early pages when Jean exposed her novice status to baking, I was completely surprised that Norcalbaker59 took such a committed stand. I don't have the patience to teach newbies, especially strangers on the internet, but I sure do admire Norcalbaker59 for her patience (and knowledge).

In the end, the work that Norcalbaker59 performed on this thread is golden. I was so relieved to find a photo of the interior crumb after Norcalbaker59's heroic and generous effort. And what a fabulous photo there is! That slice of bread swept me back to my childhood, and I'm so grateful this thread and the photo exists. I can't wait to share this story.

It often takes pain and agony to build something worthwhile. For whatever reason, Norcalbaker59 and Jean came together as strangers for a moment in 2017, and they both produced a magnificent gift to us all. Here we are in 2021, and this reader is EXTREMELY grateful and appreciative. I look forward to trying Norcalbaker59's recipe. She is my new baking god. Thank you!
 
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Here I am doing research on sweet yeast bread, making sure I'm not about to ask a question that's already been asked and answered, and I come across this amazing thread.

Irony of ironies, my grandmother was a professional baker...from Poland. Unfortunately, she died when I was young, and took all her unwritten, masterpiece recipes to her grave. She knew she was a star in the kitchen, and she tended to be secretive and protective. The bread described in this thread is the bread from my childhood, always with golden raisins. Large, tall slices, with big open holes. Never with twisted decoration. Buttered oven-toast for breakfast, with homemade strawberry jam, was like a visit to heaven. We had this bread mostly around Christian holidays. My family has not had this bread since my grandmother died in the late 60's.

After moving to NYC in the 70's, I found that challah bread with raisins was very similar in texture and flavor, but nothing like my grandmother's bread. I thought that challah is what my grandmother called her bread, but my grandmother was Catholic, so maybe the word she used was chalka (HOW-kah), which has a similar pronunciation. Many years later, while visiting Italy, I realized that panettone conjured memories of my grandmother, once again.

I'm sorry this thread took a negative turn. No good deed goes unpunished. In the early pages when Jean exposed her novice status to baking, I was completely surprised that Norcalbaker59 took such a committed stand. I don't have the patience to teach newbies, especially strangers on the internet, but I sure do admire Norcalbaker59 for her patience (and knowledge).

In the end, the work that Norcalbaker59 performed on this thread is golden. I was so relieved to find a photo of the interior crumb after Norcalbaker59's heroic and generous effort. And what a fabulous photo there is! That slice of bread swept me back to my childhood, and I'm so grateful this thread and the photo exists. I can't wait to share this story.

It often takes pain and agony to build something worthwhile. For whatever reason, Norcalbaker59 and Jean came together as strangers for a moment in 2017, and they both produced a magnificent gift to us all. Here we are in 2021, and this reader is EXTREMELY grateful and appreciative. I look forward to trying Norcalbaker59's recipe. She is my new baking god. Thank you!

I hope you enjoy the bread. My BIL really likes it, so I baked it a few times for him. I just wanted to make a correction to what you wrote: “I look forward to trying Norcalbaker59’s recipe.” This really is not my recipe. This recipe belongs to the women of that congregation who came together each year to bake for their families and community. I only hope I deciphered their recipe well enough that it would meet with their approval. And I hope some in the baking community might try it to share with their families and friends. It really is a nice bread.
 
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I just wanted to make a correction to what you wrote: “I look forward to trying Norcalbaker59’s recipe.”
Well, since I spent my lifelong career as a producer, I know a lot about copyright. Yes, you were given a strong foundation to support your effort, but, IMO, you made this recipe your own, given the amount of science and labor it takes to bring 50 pounds of flour down to 1 cup. I applaud you, Norcalbaker59. You are my newest hero!
 
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Well, since I spent my lifelong career as a producer, I know a lot about copyright. Yes, you were given a strong foundation to support your effort, but, IMO, you made this recipe your own, given the amount of science and labor it takes to bring 50 pounds of flour down to 1 cup. I applaud you, Norcalbaker59. You are my newest hero!
I guess I never thought about my contribution in that way. But I do feel the recipe connects our families now. The recipe is now part of my special collection; members of my family love it; and it most important is has a story. It’s not a recipe that was copied from a magazine or cookbook. It was baked by women who immigrated to this country and found friendship and community together. That makes it very special.

And now you have read the story of this bread, and it stirs the memories your grandmother and family. This bread is meant to give joy. I think now I will bake it as part as my annual Christmas bake.
 
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This bread is meant to give joy.
In general, I do think that's the story of food, but especially baking. It's mankind's ugly competitive, insecure side that can get in the way of that joy.

While my Polish grandmother's recipes were considered sacred to the family she spoiled, she grew up at a time when women were less valued, especially in the work force. My grandmother always had male bosses governing the kitchens where she worked. And the atmosphere for women could be cutthroat. Highly competitive for a man's attention.

For so many reasons, my grandmother decided to take her recipes to her grave. And I now view that as an awful, undeserving WASTE. A waste of time. A waste of energy. A waste of appreciation. A wasted legacy. A waste of love. As a result, I'm trying to resurrect a sweet dough recipe that was part of her fame, and bring it back to life based solely on a childhood memory. Not one written word. At least in this thread, you were offered solid clues, provided by Jean.

The truth is, words on a piece of paper from generations long past are not enough. The science of baking can get very complicated and detailed. Yeast is a living thing. Flour of thirty years ago is not the flour of today, even if the brand name is the same. And, most importantly, no two hands and brains are equal in the kitchen. Each baker brings something special to a recipe. Without the baker alive, some recipe information can never be retrieved. And that secret thing that all cooks end up doing never gets written down.

It's up to those who are left behind to adapt, and adapting recipes is what we do to keep the flame of joy burning forever.
 
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In general, I do think that's the story of food, but especially baking. It's mankind's ugly competitive, insecure side that can get in the way of that joy.

While my Polish grandmother's recipes were considered sacred to the family she spoiled, she grew up at a time when women were less valued, especially in the work force. My grandmother always had male bosses governing the kitchens where she worked. And the atmosphere for women could be cutthroat. Highly competitive for a man's attention.

For so many reasons, my grandmother decided to take her recipes to her grave. And I now view that as an awful, undeserving WASTE. A waste of time. A waste of energy. A waste of appreciation. A wasted legacy. A waste of love. As a result, I'm trying to resurrect a sweet dough recipe that was part of her fame, and bring it back to life based solely on a childhood memory. Not one written word. At least in this thread, you were offered solid clues, provided by Jean.

The truth is, words on a piece of paper from generations long past are not enough. The science of baking can get very complicated and detailed. Yeast is a living thing. Flour of thirty years ago is not the flour of today, even if the brand name is the same. And, most importantly, no two hands and brains are equal in the kitchen. Each baker brings something special to a recipe. Without the baker alive, some recipe information can never be retrieved. And that secret thing that all cooks end up doing never gets written down.

It's up to those who are left behind to adapt, and adapting recipes is what we do to keep the flame of joy burning forever.

For many women of her generation, they only had family, most did not work outside the home. Grandmother’s hold a revered placed as family matriarchs, and a grandmother’s food is a great part of her domain. Women feel all they have of value to offer is their food. If they lose that, they have nothing. Your grandmother lived in her time, in the moment.

She was not thinking about food in any other context. How food gives us our place in our families, our communities, and our place in history. How food gives us our identity, tells us who we are, and from where we came. How food gives us the understanding of family to pass to our children, a tangible sense of self. Or how when our family recipes are lost, it is like erasing pages from our family album. Your grandmother simply held on to the one thing that life allowed her total control over—her cooking.
 
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