Monday, January 3, 2011

Ukrainian Egg Bread

Visiting my Ukrainian great-grandmother, on her small farm, was truly one of the highlights of my youth. My older sister and I often stayed over school vacations and Nanny prepared delicious homemade food for every meal. Breakfast started with oatmeal and eggs cooked to order. She sat us at the table and pretty much waited on us hand and foot. It seemed that whatever we ordered, she was happy to make it. One morning I whispered to my sister that I was going to order coffee, which I did at the ripe age of about 8 years old, and she served it to me. I loaded it up with milk and sugar and it tasted pretty delicious to me. Later I learned that Nanny did in fact make a great cup of coffee, and her secret was adding egg shells to the grinds. 
Her egg bread is probably my most favorite food memory, and when I make it I'm transported back to my childhood. This light egg bread, with golden raisins, is just  slightly sweet and typically made at Easter time. It's delicious served warm from the oven, and it also makes scrumptious toast. Thankfully, my mother documented her recipe so I've been able to reproduce it exactly as she made it. The first time I did I shared it with my uncle, who lived with Nanny, and he confirmed it was true to the original. When I smell it cooking I close my eyes and I'm back on the farm...

Nanny's Ukrainian Egg Bread
2 1/4 cups of warm water
2 packages of  yeast (1/2 oz)
5 cups of flour
4 eggs, beaten
4 tbs melted butter
2 tbs sugar
1 tbs salt
Vegetable oil
Golden raisins

Start with a good bread bowl:
Add 2 1/4 cups of warm water to the bowl, then pour in two packages of yeast:
Stir until well combined and the yeast has dissolved:
Add 2 1/2 cups of the flour, mixing until you have a sour cream consistency:
Placing bowl in a warm spot, allow to rise to double its size. Cover with a kitchen cloth:
This is what it looks like about 1/2 way through:
This is what it looks like when it's risen to double its size:
Add beaten eggs, sugar, salt, melted butter and additional flour (2 1/2 cups) to achieve an elastic consistency. This is a sticky dough, but you should be able to form it into a ball:
Add a little more flour, if needed, and knead it just enough to form into a ball:
Allow it to rise again to about double its size. Place dough in an oiled pan (I use an All-Clad) and allow to rise one more time to about double its size:
Place in a 400 degree oven (375, if using convection) and bake for about 10 minutes. Then brush the top with egg wash, and return to the oven for another 25-30 minutes. It should be golden brown and sound hollow when you tap the top:
Allow to cool for about 15 minutes. Run a knife around the edge and remove from the pan. Cool on a wire rack:
Decorate and use as a centerpiece:


  1. Hi Laurie,
    Since Nanny tended to not measure her ingredients, the cleaver way that your mother came to document the portions that Nanny used used to make the bread may be a story of interest as well.

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