The Fresh Loaf

News & Information for Amateur Bakers and Artisan Bread Enthusiasts

Busha's yellow bread

Jablonski's picture

Busha's yellow bread

I came to this site looking for a recipe of a wonderful bread, made by my Busha, when I was a child. I remember it as having a deep dark brown crust with a sweet, yellow, almost cake like center. I would love to hear from someone that could help me recreate this childhood memory!

nmygarden's picture

Hi and Welcome! I'm new on here, too, after months of lurking... I feel that somewhere in this community is a solution for you.

But first, we'll need more info. What more can you describe about the bread? Did you watch (or help) her make it? If so, do you recall any of the ingredients? Texture-wise, was it like a yeasted bread or more like a quick bread? Were there traditions involved in making or serving it - use of a special pan, stories about its origin, was it served at specific times in the year, etc.?

Surely more questions to come, but let's start here. Best of luck for a happy find!


KipperCat's picture

I'm no help with your question, but I know it would help to know your Busha's ethnic background; i.e. Polish; Czech etc.


cerevisiae's picture

Well, that's not a lot to go on, but I think there's a few guesses I can make to hopefully help get the search underway.

  1. Probably contained egg yolks; this would help give it the yellow color on the inside, soft cakey texture, and help with the browning on the outside.
  2. Probably contained some kind of sweetener - this would also help with the browning of the crust.

Do you know if it contained any additional flavorings - vanilla, spices, fruits?

What was the shape like? Was it baked in a loaf pan, a cake pan, braided?

What was the context for eating it? Was it served with dinner? As a snack? As a treat for special occasions and holidays?

PetraR's picture

That was the first thing that sprung to mind when I read it.

Yeasty_Beasty's picture

Busha is Polish, so I'd guess the bread was maybe a Babka or Chalka?

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

I'd like to know the recipe for that bread as well. My Polish grandmother, whom we called Babci, made a really large loaf of that bread every Saturday or for holiday breakfasts. Considering she had eleven children and close to forty grandchildren, it's a wonder the loaf ever lasted more than fifteen minutes. My search for a recipe for that was what led me to TFL.

Watch your message inbox. I'll send you a recipe for a Polish bread that comes from an old cookbook gathered by the women of St Joseph's Parish back in Gardner, MA. Its similar but not the loaf you described.

cerevisiae's picture

Postal Grunt - Do you think you'd be willing to post the recipe on a forum or blog post? I don't recall my Babci making much bread when I was younger, but I'd still be interested in seeing a Polish recipe, and others may be as well.

Postal Grunt's picture
Postal Grunt

While doing some internet searching on this recipe, I found several recipes and a Youtube clip (from Czechoslovakia) on "Buchty" which is similar and a brioche style dough. From what I gathered, buchty is baked in kitchens from Germany to Ukrainia and up to the Baltic republics such as Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania. It's hard to figure which nationality actually developed any recipe since the borders in Eastern Europe were quite flexible from the time of the Napoleonic Wars through WW2.

This recipe for Lithuanian Easter Bread has a picture that shows a loaf similar to the one Babci baked with exception that Babci used raisins rather than white raisins.

Of course, when she baked a loaf that called for five pounds of flour in a wood burning stove, the results were a much thicker and darker crust.


The following is based on the recipe that my father got from a family member. The actual recipe is much more basic and I'll attach it further on. This particular version is what I worked out four years ago and actually executed. I ask for your forbearance because it's not particularly professional or up to the standards of the recipes I've seen posted on TFL.

1 ½ tsp Active Dry Yeast

pinch of sugar

¼ to 1/3C of lukewarm water for proofing yeast.


1tsp instant yeast

1/4-1/3C of lukewarm water

1.25# or 5C AP flour

1/4# or 1 stick of unsalted butter

1C whole milk

1/3C sugar

1 tsp salt

1 lg egg

1/4# raisins

Prepare raisins by soaking in warm water (85-95F) for about ½ hour and dry on a towel.

If using active dry yeast, mix the water and pinch of sugar, sprinkle ADY over the water and let proof for 10-15 minutes.

In a microwaveable bowl, put milk, 1/3C sugar, and butter. Heat gently until butter is almost melted and let cool to 90-105F and butter is melted. Stir mixture.

In a large mixing bowl, add 1#, or 4C, of flour. If using instant yeast, spread the yeast over the flour and add the water. If not, add proofed yeast, egg, cooled milk mixture, and mix well. Add remaining flour a TBS at a time until dough is no longer wet but not sticking to the side of the bowl. Reserve remaining flour for kneading.

Cover the mixing bowl with a towel or plastic wrap and let dough rest for 20-30 minutes to assure the moisture has been absorbed by the flour.

Sprinkle the salt over the dough and turn out onto a floured surface for kneading. Knead for about 8 minutes, do a windowpane test for gluten development, and knead for two more minutes.

Form the dough into a rough ball and place the dough in an oiled bowl, turning dough over to make sure the surface is lightly covered with oil. Cover the bowl with a damp towel or plastic wrap and let rise in a warm (70-75F) area until almost doubled in size, about 45-60 minutes.

At this point, you can either degas the dough and proof until almost doubled, about 45 minutes, or you can proceed to the next step of shaping.

Turn out dough onto a floured surface and gently degas into a rectangular shape. The rectangular shape should be planned with the idea of being fitted into a 9”x5” pan. Add the raisins onto the top of the dough and press them in. Roll up or shape the dough and then place into an oiled 9”x5” loaf pan. Cover with a plastic sheet that has been sprayed with oil.

At this point, the baker can either let the dough rise or place the formed loaf into a refrigerator and retard the dough overnight, up to 10 hours. If the retarded fermentation is chosen, take the loaf out and let the dough rise until it is at least 1/2-3/4” above the pan. This may take between ¾ and 2 hours depending on the ambient air temperature in the kitchen.

If you choose to continue the proofing, let the dough rise to at least 1/2-3/4” above the edge of the pan, anywhere between 45-75 minutes.

As your loaf rises towards the desired height, preheat your oven to 400F.

Before placing the loaf in the oven, spray or lightly brush the top with water. Then using a very sharp knife or razor blade, slash the loaf diagonally three times or once down the middle.

Load the pan onto a shelf at least 1/3 up from the bottom or midway in the oven.  Turn the oven down to 375F. At 15 minutes into the bake, turn the oven down to 325F and turn the pan around for an even bake. Bake for 45 minutes or until the internal temperature reaches 195-200F. The long bake at 325F is called for due to the amount of butter in the recipe. At 45 minutes, test for doneness or temperature. When done, remove the loaf from the oven and let cool for at least one hour on a wire rack. Serve with butter or favorite preserves.

That's the recipe and procedure that I worked out. Next, I'll show you what I had to work with to develop that.

Mother's Raisin Bread

3 teaspoons sugar

3/4 glass warm water

4 yeast cakes

let stand and rise

5 lbs flour

1 lb butter

4C milk

1 1/2C sugar

1 heaping TBS salt

8 eggs

1 lb raisins

In pan, put milk, I use one can of evaporated milk, plus milk to make 4 cups.

Add sugar, salt, butter, and heat. Cool

In bowl, put about 2/3 of the flour and make a    When milk has cooled off, add to the flour, add eggs, and yeast, mix it well and knead. Add raisins, knead, Bake 375 deg. For 15minutes- ¾ hour for 325 deg or till test done.

As you can see, the original was clearly meant for someone who learned to bake at the side of their mother or grandmother. It also makes a good argument for using weight measurement rather than volume. Should you take a whack at this recipe, I hope that you'll find time to let me know any changes you made and how it worked out for you.