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Tuesday, March 4, 2014

Don't Bake A Paczki

It's Fat Tuesday.  The day for fattening up before the fasting days of Lent.  Not only is it Fat Tuesday, it's Paczki Day.  Paczki (pronounced Poonch-key) is a traditional Polish doughnut type bakery item.  My husband is half Polish, my mother in law was full Polish and no one in my family has even tasted one.  There is a bakery in the Green Bay area that sells over 20,000 of them on this day.  I thought they must be wonderful and so I would try to make them.  Traditionally they are deep fried, but I found a recipe where they are baked.  I don't like many things deep fried so I thought this would be a better option, and it would have a lot less than the 400 calories in a fried one.  They turned out looking like a sweet dinner roll with more sugar on top and jelly in the middle.  I think deep frying them would be better for taste and maybe a little crispiness.  It would also make the sugar on top stick better. 

Baked Paczki 

Ingredients:

  • 1 1/2 cups warm milk (no warmer than 110 degrees)
  • 2 packages active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 4 ounces (1 stick) room-temperature butter
  • 1 large room-temperature egg
  • 3 large room-temperature egg yolks
  • 1 tablespoon brandy or rum
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • Granulated sugar (optional)
Add yeast to warm milk, stir to dissolve and set aside.  In a large bowl or stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, cream together the sugar and butter until fluffy.  Beat in the eggs, brandy and salt until well incorporated.

Still using the paddle attachment, add 4 1/2 cups flour alternately with the milk-yeast mixture and beat for 5 or more minutes.  Dough will be very slack.  If it's too soft, add the remaining 1/2 cup flour.

Place dough in a greased bowl.  Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk.  It should take from 1 to 2 hours.  Punch down and let it rise again.


After it has risen, turn dough out onto lightly floured surface.  Pat or roll to 1/2 to 3/4 inch thickness.


Cut rounds with a 3 inch biscuit cutter.  Remove scraps and re-roll and re-cut.  Transfer rounds to parchment lined baking sheets, cover and let rounds rise until doubled in size.  It takes about 30 minutes.


Preheat the oven to 375 degrees.  Place the Paczki's in the oven and bake 8-10 minutes or until a toothpick tests clean.  Remove from oven and roll in sugar.   Put jelly in the center when cooled.


For those of you who are true bakers, you are probably laughing at me right now.  I am willing to try anything, but it doesn't always turn out.  I have never tasted the real Paczki, so maybe they did turn out and I don't know it.  Some day I will have to travel to the Polish bakery and see for myself.