THE BIG BABKA BAKE!
Sr. Judith Miryam (proud Polish-American!) smiles triumphantly with her very first batch of babka in 2000, which inaugurated an Easter Breakfast tradition in our monastery.
It all started when one of our Dominican friars (also a proud Polish-American) gave Sister a Polish cookbook published by Transfiguration Church in Olean, New York. After browsing through the recipes, she was inspired to bake babka, a popular Polish holiday bread, which was baked each Easter by the ladies of her home parish, Our Lady of Mount Carmel, Bayonne, New Jersey.
For a first-time babka baker, the recipe proved to be (and still is!) rather intimidating. Beyond the bread having to undergo three risings, the multiplication of ingredients needed to make six babkas called for such daunting items as 45 egg yolks and 30 cups of flour! In addition, there was a potentially dangerous typo in one of the directions: "Break up yeast in a bowl and mix in sugar. Combine well until it liquifies. Stir in water." (Huh?!) Fortunately, master baker, Sr. Mary Catharine noticed the error, and made sure that Sr. Judith Miryam would not be trying to liquify yeast and sugar without water! Her first babkas came out splendidly, a fact Sister attributes, not to "beginner's luck," but to the intercession of her maternal great-grandmother (babcia), Charlotte Jablonowski, an accomplished cook and baker.
At this posting, the babka is still struggling to reach its first rising (thanks to the damp weather), so Sr. Judith Miryam would be grateful for your prayers for its success!