Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Easter ideas: Traditional Hungarian braided milk-loaf

How can you weave a milk-loaf from 6 threads? J

 A bejegyzés magyarul itt olvasható.

Milk-loaf with raisins.

Sweet or salted milk-loafs are important part of the Hungarian Easter season. The Christians take the milk-loafs and the hams to the morning mass, where the priest blesses the food. The Christian believers eat meat first time after the 40 days long Lent at this holiday celebrating the resurrection of Jesus Christ. There are many other traditions besides Christian traditions in Hungary, such as, egg painting and sprinkling on Easter Monday, which can be found characteristically in Hungary. This is the reason why we shall take care religiously these traditions because we can be so proud of these.

One of these beautiful traditions is the braided sweet milk-loaf, which is the symbol of the Easter preparations for me. (The other is the egg painting, but I will write about this in my next post.)

The Easter Holiday is coming soon, so I would like to share a really tasty and soft milk-loaf recipe with you containing extra volume of raisins. I learned the waving technique from a video of my favorite confectioner (Vilmos Farkas), which you can find here! I made a collage about the waving technique so you can learn it easily too! Well, you will be able to do the perfect milk-loaf now, you only have to read the recipe!

400 g flour
50 g melted butter
50 g icing sugar (I used my special homemade vanilla sugar. You can find the recipe here.)
2 egg yolk
250 ml milk (+ 100 ml for the raisin soaking)
40 g yeast
1 pinch of salt
zest of 2 orange
zest of 1 lemon
100 g of raisin
1 tbs rum aroma
+ 1 egg for the lubrication of the milk-loaf surface

After washing the raisins you have to mix it with circa 10 ml milk, which shall fully cover the raisins. If you like the taste of rum then you shall mix 1 tbs rum aroma to the milk so the milk-loaf will be more delicious. Originally, I wanted to use golden raisin, but I couldn’t buy it, so I have chosen the “extra-big raisin mix”, which size was 4 times bigger, than normal raisins. This raisin mix contained gold and normal raisins in 1:1 unit. Working with these bigger raisins was harder, because they were harder to homogenize and the raisins always popped out from the dough.
If you would like to make a good loaf than you should get all ingredients out from the fridge 2 hours before you start the whole baking process.

The "extra-big raisin mix".

Making the dough:
First I heated up the milk (35-40°C) and mixed it with 1 tbs sugar and with  fresh yeast. I sifted the dry ingredients (flour, salt and sugar) to a high-walled bowl then I added the egg yolks and the orange and lemon zest. (Don’t forget to sift the flour, because it is really important to get nice and spongy dough!)
I melted the butter then I let it cool down. After the milk and yeast mix became foamy, I added it and the melted butter to the other ingredients then I started to compile the dough with a tablespoon.
In this case you will get a little bit harder dough like bread dough, but don’t worry just continue the kneading until the dough become shiny and homogeneous!

Don't forget to sift the flour!

Mixing the raisins:
The extra milk has to be poured off from the raisins. If you left the raisins for a night in the fridge then it is likely to happen, that the raisin and milk mixture will make a soft and creamy dollop. In this case shaking the raisin in a colander a few times will solve the problem, and the raisin pieces will soft and creamy but not so wet!
You should roll out the dough then cover it with raisins. After folding the dough you have to knead it with fast movements. If the dough will become very wet from the raisins you can add a little bit extra flour to the dough. After mixing the raisins you have to leave the dough in a warm place for 40-45 minutes for leavening.
Mixing the raisins.

Preparing the milk-loaf:
You have to share the leavened dough for 6 equal pieces, which have to be kneaded again. 

Share the dough for 6 equal pieces!

The dough balls have to be twirled in a long filament and they should be thinner in the tips. The tip of the 6 filaments has to be pinched together and fold it under. You have to wave the filaments not too tight then pinch together the end of the filaments and fold this end under too.
Let the milk-loaf raise for additional 10-15 minutes then cover the surface with a thin layer of eggs.

The filaments.

Weaving process:
(1)      Cross your hands (left hand down, right hand up) and take the 2 winger filaments. The filament, which is in your left hand, has to be moved left and you have to take in, don’t let it out! The filament, which is in your right hand, has to be moved right and put down left-middle, so you have to put it down in the same size, where you take it away.
(2)      The filament is still in you left hand. Take the left winger filament with your right hand and turn it with your filament being in your left hand. Now the filament will stay in your right hand then you have to put down the other filament right in the middle, which position will be opposite to the ancestry side.
(3)      The filament is still in you right hand. Take the right winger filament with your left hand and turn it with your filament being in your right hand. Now this filament will stay in your left hand and you have to put down the other filament left in the middle, which position will be opposite to the ancestry side.
(4)      You have to repeat this process until you run out of the filaments.

Weaving process J
The point:
You take 1 filament in your hand constantly. The filament in your hand has to be turn the other filament coming from the same wing, where your hand is standing. It means that you have to turn up a filament, where 3 filaments are, and you have to put down filament where 2 filaments are. This is how the left and right wing is alternating.
The milk-loaf before and after leavening.
The leavened milk-loaf has to be put into a COLD oven, which temperature was turned for 180°C where the dough has to spend 20-30 minutes. If the surface of the milk-loaf becomes gold-brown then you have to get it out and let it cool. You can lubricate the surface of the warm milk-loaf with a small teaspoon of butter, so it will be more shiny and soft. Don’t slice it until it cools down completely!
If you don’t eat from the milk-loaf you should cover it with a paper towel, or a plastic bag preventing drying out of the milk-loaf.

In summary, this whole milk-loaf baking process was a huge thing for me! I like the yeast cake very much, but this milk-loaf was so delicious at this time, that Peter, who actually is not a huge cookie fan, loved this cookie and ate it very willingly.
„Yam-yam…. Mmmm, it is sooooo good, can I eat more?”- He was able to say only these few words, than he continued eating the milk-loaf! So tell me, do I need bigger probate, than this was???

My milk-loaf  J

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