Today, I’ll share a recipe for a very tasty Christmas loaf/flat cake, that I’ve learned from a fellow friends’ grandmother. I took the recipe last year and made it for Christmas. I loved it so much, that I made it for New Year’s Eve as well. It is so delicious, that I had to make it again this year. The recipe is not too hard. I’ve found that kneading the dough was a bit of a challenge. Every time I am working up dough, I find myself very nervous at some point. It is the moment, when you’ve put all of the ingredients, and still it is like a mess. And you put flour, and you put flour…and still nothing. Yeah, been there, done that. However, I have always managed to work it up. Baking the loaf is another struggle. My oven is very old. It doesn’t show the degrees. I mean there are degrees, but they are marked – 1, 2, 3, 4. And sometimes when I look at some recipe, and see something like – bake on 180°C (356°F), I am like…well, ok, not going to happen. Good thing I am stubborn, and try different degrees till I find the right temperature. Enough, with useless information, here is the recipe:
You will need:
- ½ yeast (but try to use fresh one, not powder) ;
- 2 tea-cups milk;
- 2 eggs and one yolk;
- 1 tablespoon salt;
- 1 tablespoon sugar;
- 1-2 tablespoons cooking oil;
- 1 tablespoon vinegar;
- Butter (I used around 250 grams (8.8185 oz));
- Flour (I used more than 500 grams (17.637 oz), but less than 1 kilogram (35.274 oz).)
How to make it:
First you put the yeast in a bowl and mix it with 1 tea-cup warm milk (if you don’t have milk, use warm water. However, you will need it for the dough as well. In Bulgaria we can substitute the milk with yoghurt, and not the Greek kind. In the USA, you can hardly find some – maybe in a Bulgarian store.) You mix the yeast with the milk, as I said above, the sugar and 1-2 tablespoons flour. Leave this bowl somewhere warm to let it rise, and you can cover it with a towel.
When it is well-risen, you can continue. Take a large baking dish. I use a round one. Put flour in it( don’t forget to sift it out). Then put your fist in the center of the dish, trying to make a whole in the flour. We call it – making a well. Then you are ready to add the rest of the ingredients in the “well“: the 2 eggs, the vinegar, cooking oil, salt, milk and finally the well-risen yeast. And let the fun begin. Now you have to work the dough up, till it is soft, but not too sticky. You can add as much flour as you need, but don’t make it too hard.
Once the dough is ready, roll it out on a covered with a flour table (or wherever you want, I do it on the table, you can use your kitchen board, if it is wide enough.) After that spread butter on it. I usually put a lot of butter, because it makes the loaf tastier. Then, roll the dough up, making a roll. Cut as many pieces as you wish. My baking dish is large, so I cut it into 11 pieces. However, the first time I made this recipe, I used a smaller dish, so I cut it into 6 pieces. Spread butter on the baking dish as well, and powder it with some flour. Then, take the baking dish and turn it upside-down and pat it. Now, you have enough butter and flour on the dish, and it is ready for the cut pieces. Arrange them in it, cover it with a towel and leave it some place warm to rest and rise. Usually in Bulgaria we put a coin in the loaf. The saying is – whoever finds it, should be rich the next year. If, you want to give this tradition a try, wrap the coin in some foil first, and then put in a random piece.
It will take up to an hour, hour and a half, for the dough to rise. When it is ready, smear it with the yolk and if you want, you can decorate it with some seeds, nuts, or something else. But, be careful, because they can burn easily. Pre-heat the oven to 180°C (356°F) (on my oven it is – 3), and put the baking dish in it. Bake it till it turns red. Try sticking a toothpick in it. If it is dry, it is ready. If it is sticky, you should leave it in the oven for a bit more. If, it is not fully baked, but the top is red, just cover it with some foil.
After, the loaf is baked, sprinkle some cold water in it and cover it with a towel for half an hour, or till dinner.
This is my favourite recipe for a Christmas loaf. 🙂