…isn’t it Polish bread?
When Poland joined the European Union (EU) in 2004, many young Poles traveled for work to other EU member countries. But, if you asked any Pole living abroad, what food they miss most, the answer would probably be: Polish bread! This is what strikes us when we go abroad, we have to look really hard to find a tasty loaf of bread. Toasts, which are so common in other countries are not highly regarded by Poles. Comparing with Polish bread, which is mainly based on sourdough, toast bread is considered much too sweet, if not tasteless. But, not only Poles appreciate the delicious taste of our fresh bread. According to Polish Economy Ministry, Polish bread has recently become a leading export product. Nowadays, Poland exports four times as much bread as vodka! It has been estimated that growth in export s of bread, pastries, tarts and cakes rose by 9 percent during 2010.
There are many types of bread available in Poland, most of them based on: sourdough, rye, white, wholemeal and seven-grain. Bread has always had a symbolic meaning. In Poland, still a Catholic country, this religious aspect is very important. Especially in villages, various folk and religious customs are kept. As a symbol of hospitality bread and salt are used to welcome a married couple at a wedding reception. In some parts of Poland bread is put next to traditional Christmas dishes, and some people still make a sign of cross on a loaf of bread before slicing it. Moreover, there are various festivities organized to mark the season of harvesting.
A couple of years a ago, thanks to some passionate people, a unique Bread Museum was founded. It is located in Upper Silesia region of Poland, in a small town of Radzinków. The purpose of the museum is to mark the long tradition of bread consumption in Poland. So you can learn about history of bread baking. Many exhibits show historical bread-baking equipment and household utensils. There is also a possibility to bake your own bread.
But there is nothing better than home-made bread. Some women still bake their own bread. Sometimes for the whole family, they’ll bake three or four loaves to be distributed. Edyta, a housewife from a small village in Upper Silesia region of Poland, bakes three loaves of bread every week. One loaf for her family and two loaves for her daughter’s family.
Of course, the secret behind Polish bread are the recipes. Here’s a recipe for Mrs. Edyta’s bread:
One Loaf of Mrs. Edyta’s bread
(prepare 3-4 days earlier)
50 grams of rye bread
1,2 liter of boiled, hot water
30 grams of yeast
60 grams of rye flour
1 teaspoon of sugar
400 grams of Sourdough Starter
200 grams of wheat flour or all-purpose flour
200 grams of rye flour
1 teaspoon of salt
10 grams of yeast
2 tablespoons of oil
1 tablespoon of sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon of pumpkin seeds
To make the starter, in a small bowl, mix together all the ingredients. Cover the starter and set in a warm place to ripen for three to four days.
In a large bowl, combine the starter, rye and white flours, salt, yeast, oil and the seeds. Knead 7 minutes by machine or 10 minutes by hand. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
Knead the dough for 1 minute. Put it into a bread pan (32cm-12cm). Let it rise for another 30 minutes or until almost doubled. Heat oven to 200 C degrees.
Brush the dough with egg white and sprinkle with sunflower seeds. Bake for 45 to 55 minutes.
If you want to bake your own bread here are additional, very delicious, tested and complete recipes by Barbara Rolek, Eastern European Food, About.com Guide :
If you travel to Poland and would like to visit Hania’s Confectionery & Bakery and try their bread baked on cabbage leaves, here’s their contact information: Hania’s Confectionery & Bakery ul. Gliwicka 2 44 – 152 Sosnicowice www.cukiernia-hania.pl