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Thursday, March 12, 2020

Polish Placek - An Enriched Sweet Bread

This sweet bread is topped with buttery crumb topping for a delicious treat.  Bake it as a loaf or as a round for an extra special treat with your coffee or tea.  It is an Easter time tradition, but is great all year long.

first slice of crumb topped placek being lifted out of round cake-like loaf


     This sweet treat is part bread and part coffee cake.  It is a perfect addition to your breakfast or brunch menu.  It is fabulous on its own fresh, but with a smear of butter or jam it is great for several days.  It is an Easter tradition in many places, but there is no reason you can't enjoy a slice any time.  A batch makes two loaves (or cakes) so enjoy one now and freeze one for later!


    With Easter right around the corner, I knew I wanted to do something fun and a little different.  With this year's Easter Open House being a brunch theme, I had the perfect venue to serve lots of coffee cake!

    Nana's family is Polish, so I thought it would be fun to try out another fun Polish recipe.  The lemony babka from I made last year around Easter was so fun, I knew there had to be more delicious Polish recipes that would fit the bill.

bowl of sponge next to creamed butter and egg mixture for placek batter
Bowl of bubbly sponge next to creamed butter mixture


   There were quite a few fun versions of Polish placek out there.  All started with a rich yeast dough, full of butter and eggs. Then they are topped with a crumb topping called Kruszynki.  Most were baked in loaf pans and they all looked delicious.

    I found a recipe on a Polish parish's website that was from a newspaper clipping dated March 17, 1966.  This is Mrs. Mary Lipinski's recipe of 124 Colt Street, city unknown.  It seemed like Mary might know a thing or two about placek, so I knew this would be the recipe I would go with.

pans of placek dough next to bowl of crumb topping


    The first time I made it, I followed the recipe to a "T."  That is always a great place to start, especially when it comes to baking.

      That was a really large recipe, meant to yield 4 loafs.  Which is a lot of placek, even for my big family of eaters.  So this time I decided to make some tweaks and shrink it down a bit.

     Below is the original recipe in case that is what you are looking for.   I baked it in 12" casti iron skillet and a 9" one as well.  However it was intended to be baked in either 4 9x5" loaf pans, 4 9" round cake pans, or a combination of the two.

one loaf shaped cake and one round cake on cooling rack

Polish Placek Coffee Cake - Big Batch

Makes 4 loaves or 1 12" and 1 9" round
Serves 32

Part One Ingredients;

2 cups scalded milk, lukewarm
2 T sugar
3 cups flour
1 T dry active yeast

Part Two Ingredients:

1 1/2 cups butter
2 cups sugar
6 eggs
1 T salt
4 cups flour
2 tsp vanilla

Kruszynki (Crumb Topping):

1 1/4 cup flour
3/4 cup sugar
1/4 cup butter, softened

  1. In a large mixing bowl, mix together all of the ingredients in the part one list.  Cover with a towel and let rise for a half hour.
  2. In your mixer, beat the butter until light and fluffy.  Add sugar and beat until completely combined.  Add eggs one at a time, beating between each addition.  Add flour, salt and vanilla and mix until just combined.  
  3. Stir together the yeast mixture and the butter mixture until if form a soft (and very sticky) dough.  Place in greased pans and let rise until doubled in size.  Don't let them rise over 3/4 of the way up the pans, so they don't go over while baking.
  4. In a small bowl, mix sugar and flour for crumb topping.  Use a fork to cut the butter into the sugar, flour mixture.  Sprinkle over dough.
  5. Bake at 350 F for 30-40 minutes for loaves and 35-45 for cast iron skillets.  Mary says not to over bake them because the dough will get dark. 

A Little Background

It seems like the word placek just means cake in Polish.  It is pronounced "plah-sek."

I am not sure how original this is to Poland itself, but it seems a lot of American cities with large Polish population have a history of placek.  It is often served at Easter time.

I suppose that is why almost every recipe you find makes a TON.  I suppose the grandmas doing the baking are expecting a crowd.

Luckily they do freeze well, so I guess if you are baking some you might as well bake a lot. Then you can have an easy treat later.

slices of loaf shaped placek on cutting board


Most recipes include golden raisins in the dough.  You can add them in while you are mixing it up.

I am not surprised as my Polish babka recipe also included raisins. My family is mixed on being raisin fans, so I opted to leave them out this time.

You can also add nuts to the crumb mixture.  Walnuts seem to be a popular addition, but again I opted to leave them out this time.


slice of placek loaf spread with butter on small plate

Things to Know Before You Start

This bread essentially rises three times.  There is the sponge, the proofing and the final rise.

So it does take a little time, but that equals flavor! If you want to spread it out, you can chill the dough after the proof.

Just cover the bowl with plastic wrap and put the proved dough in the refrigerator for up to three days.  Let it come back to room temperature, then put it in your prepared baking pans.

The dough is more of a thick batter.  It will not come into a ball like regular bread dough.  It should get kind of smooth and elastic as the gluten is worked, but it will remain sticky and loose.

You can mix in all of the flour by hand, but you will thank yourself if you use a mixer.  It makes getting the gluten developed a lot easier!



easter cake, easter bread, polish recipes, coffee cake, yeasted coffee cake
breakfast
American, Polish
Yield: 24 servings
Author:

Placek - Polish Easter Bread/Cake

Placek - Polish Easter Bread/Cake

This sweet bread is topped with buttery crumb topping for a delicious treat. Bake it as a loaf or as a round for an extra special treat with your coffee or tea. It is an Easter time tradition, but is great all year long.
prep time: 5 hourcook time: 40 Mtotal time: 5 H & 40 M

ingredients:

Sponge
  • 1 cup milk
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons (1 pkg) active dry yeast
  • 1 cup flour
Dough
  • 1/2 cup butter, softened
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • dash nutmeg
  • zest of lemon or orange (or 1/2 teaspoon lemon extract) 
  • 2 1/2 cups flour
Crumb Topping
  • 3 Tablespoons butter, softened
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup flour

instructions:

How to cook Placek - Polish Easter Bread/Cake

Sponge
  1. Warm the milk to about 105 F. It should be warm to the touch, but not so warm you couldn't keep your finger it in.
  2. Pour into a large bowl. Stir in the sugar and yeast, let sit for about 15 minutes. It should by foamy and active.
  3. Stir in the flour and let sit until about doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
  4. During this time pull the butter and eggs out of the refrigerator for the dough if you haven't already. 
Dough
  1. Cream together the butter and sugar until it's light and fluffy.
  2. Add the eggs, one at a time, mixing well between each addition.
  3. Stir in the salt, nutmeg and zest or extract.  
  4. Add 1 cup flour, beating until combined.  Add sponge and remaining flour. Beat for 5 minutes.  The batter should be smooth and elastic, but still sticky.  It is more of a stiff batter than a ball of dough. 
  5. Place in a greased bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a damp towel.  Allow to rise until doubled, about 1 1/2 - 2 hours. 
  6. The proofed dough can be left covered and refrigerated for up the 3 days at this point. (Just allow it to come to room temperature again before proceeding.)
Crumb Topping
  1. Grease 2 9x5" loaf pans, 2 9" round cake pans, or one of each. Punch down the proofed dough and put half in each pan.  Using damp or greased fingers, press the dough to the edges of the pan. 
  2. Cut together the crumb ingredients until they are crumbly and well mixed. Sprinkle half over each part of the dough.  Press lightly to affix to the dough.
  3. Cover and let rise until they are risen almost to the top of the pans, about 1 1/2 hours. 
  4. Preheat oven to 325 F. Bake 35-40 minutes.  They should be golden on top. 
  5. Cool in the pans for 10 minutes, then remove from pan and place on wire rack until completely cool. 
  6. Store in airtight container at room temperature or wrap and freeze for up to 3 months.
  7. Serve slightly warmed or at room temperature with a spread of butter or preserves. 
Calories
329.89
Fat (grams)
23.98
Sat. Fat (grams)
14.91
Carbs (grams)
26.11
Fiber (grams)
0.49
Net carbs
25.57
Sugar (grams)
11.56
Protein (grams)
3.43
Sodium (milligrams)
241.36
Cholesterol (grams)
85.07

Did you make this recipe?
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Created using The Recipes Generator



This sweet bread is topped with buttery crumb topping for a delicious treat.  Bake it as a loaf or as a round for an extra special treat with your coffee or tea.  It is an Easter time tradition, but is great all year long.



48 comments:

  1. Looks like a winner Carlee!! I bet it was amazing...I love that is was more of a bread...am I right? It kind of reminds me of an Amish sweet bread recipe I used to make!

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    1. It definitely has a dense bready texture, like a bread/cake hybrid! I have been having a lot of fun experimenting with yeast recipes lately. They used to intimidate me!

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  2. Oh my goodness, Carlee! This coffee cake sounds SO GOOD! And I love that you got it from an old newspaper - such a cool way to discover a new, delicious recipe!

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    1. Thank you! I love making vintage recipe, even if the instructions are a bit hard to follow sometimes!

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  3. This sure is an interesting cake make! I will bet it goes well with coffee too <3 Well done Carlee!

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  4. I love finding Polish recipes for my husband and his family. I will be making this for the next get together. Thanks Carlee.

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  5. This looks yeasty and wonderful! I bet it would be great for breakfast with some coffee! Thanks!
    --G
    http://gingerwroot.com

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    1. Thank you! It would be perfect for having a few ladies over to chat over coffee!

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  6. Love that you made this in the cast iron skillet! Definitely going to give this cake a try.

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    1. Thank you! I love cooking and baking in my cast iron skillets!

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  7. This looks great Carlee, perfect I can imagine with a large cup of coffee.

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  8. This looks great and I bet it's really tasty

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  9. Wow Carlee, that cake looks incredible! Gimmie a fork! It sounds like you put a lot of work into this recipe. Love that it's from 1966. :-D

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    1. Thanks, Michele! It was a lot of fun to figure out which one I wanted to do and I was very happy with how it turned out!

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  10. I love anything in a cast iron skillet! Sorry, short comments today. Migraine. Thank you for sharing. Yummed!

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    1. Me too! I hope you kick the migraine soon, Marilyn. They are the worst!

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  11. Wow I don't know anything about Polish food but was very interested in your lovely photos, details and recipe! The bread looks delicious! Thanks for sharing on Funtastic Friday and look forward to more of your creativity!

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    1. Thank you! I didn't know much about Polish food beside pierogi before I married my husband. It has been fun to learn more about a great culture!

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  12. I'm confused, should this cake have coffee in it or is it to be eaten with a cup of coffee? There is no coffee in the ingredients you gave. Thanks

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    1. I am sorry for the confusion. It is meant as a breakfast cake, or one to be served with an afternoon tea or cup of coffee. It isn't as sweet as a traditional cake.

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  13. This looks so good, Carlee! I have been anxious to stop by and see what the recipe is for that delicious photo that kept catching my eye. Very unique and interesting! Must try!

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    1. Thank you! It was a lot of fun to make (and eat!)

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  14. This looks so interesting, I've never seen a cake like this but I can almost taste it with my coffee! Thanks so much for linking up at You Link It, We Make It - we hope to see you back this week!

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    1. It is great with a nice hot mug of coffee, thank you!

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  15. A beautiful cake baked by you Carlee. I am going bake this soon, bookmarking it.

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  16. It's so funny how much overlap there is between different nationalities! My family has a strong german background and this recipe is similar to one we make on special occasions called kucha. I've also seen it called kuchen. That whole region really loved sweet dough desserts with custard! I'm really excited to give this a try and see how closely it compares! Thanks so much for sharing it with us at You Link It, We Make it!

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    1. It is fun to see the overlap and similarities, isn't it? I've never made a kuchen. Now I really want to try both too! Thanks for hosting.

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  17. I don't think I've ever had Polish placek, nor have I used yeast in a coffee cake before, I will have to try it, it sounds wonderful! Thanks for sharing at What'd You Do This Weekend?!

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    1. I have a new found love for babkas and sweet breads, so it was fun to try this variation. I hope you enjoy it, thanks for hosting!

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  18. I totally pinned this! It sounds so yummy!

    I would love for you to share this with my Facebook Group for recipes, crafts, tips and tricks: https://www.facebook.com/groups/pluckyrecipescraftstips/

    Thanks for joining Cooking and Crafting with J & J!

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  19. My mom's side of the family is Polish, can't wait to give this one a try!

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  20. Coffee cakes are always good! Thanks for sharing your recipe with us at Merry Monday. Sounds scrumptious.

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  21. Hello Carlee, we are so happy to have featured this recipe at our Monday Cooking and Crafting with J&J!
    Have a wonderful week. :)
    Julie xo

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  22. In the instructions for part 2 it mentions adding cream. It is not listed in the ingredient list. Please clarify.

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    1. I meant it as a verb. I changed it to say beat so there isn't any confusion! Sorry about that! I hope you enjoy the recipe!

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  23. What a fun bread! I love the touch of lemon zest and nutmeg in it! Have a wonderful weekend stay healthy my friend!

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    1. It all comes together so well to make the perfect cake/bread hybrid! Thanks, Andrea!

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Thank you so much for taking the time to read and comment. I love reading your ideas!