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Today we stop in Poland to taste a typical dessert of the Christmas and Easter holidays, the Makowiec Polish Christmas Bread. It’s a sweet Christmas bread, prepared with a leavened dough and a filling based on ground sesame seeds, raisins and walnuts.
The Preparation Of The Makowiec
Makowiec is a very special Polish Christmas bread and is composed of a soft leavened dough, that can be prepared with sugar or honey, and then stuffed with a poppy seed paste prepared by cooking the seeds in milk after leaving them to soak, and subsequently flavored and enriched with walnuts, raisins, honey, vanilla and lemon and orange peels. Or using a ready-made poppy seed paste, not being a simple product to find, I prepared the seed paste and then enriched it with the other ingredients.
It’s a dessert that releases a delicious scent throughout the home during cooking, that makes you look forward to tasting this particular Polish Christmas Bread. Externally it can be decorated with sugar glaze once cooked or brushed with milk and decorated with poppy seeds.
History Of Polish Christmas Bread
Makowiec is a bread of Polish origin, it’s also widespread in many Eastern European states and also appears in some areas of Germany and Austria. Its names can be many, but they refer to the same preparation which in some cases may differ according to the personal tastes of the population. So if you see Mákos bejgli (Hungary), Makovník (Slovakia), Makovnjača (Serbia), Makový závin (Czech Republic), Makovnjača (Croatia), know that they are the same dessert.
It’s one of the Christmas sweets, and sweet in general, which most represents Poland. The use of poppy seeds in the filling can be traced back to very ancient unofficial Christian beliefs, where it’s thought that poppies grew where the blood of Christ fell during the crucifixion, and to other beliefs where they see poppies as a link between the world of the living and the dead and the seeds were used for the preparation of food for the dead.
In more modern times Makowiec is seen as a dessert proposed to several royalty.
The Makowiec And The Law
This delicious Polish Christmas Bread has also been pointed out as a food that could introduce morphine into the body of those who consumed it. For the uninitiated, morphine, opiates and heroin are obtained from poppy seeds. Given the large number of poppy seeds, some pointed to it as a source of morphine. But I assure you that this is not the case.
The seeds used for the production of the cake are different from those used for “other” purposes and even if you manage to eat a whole Makowiec you are more likely to be able to get only indigestion!
If you like this recipe, you might also be interested in the Pumpkin Loaf, or
Polish Christmas Bread: Makowiec
- 125 ml Milk
- 7 g Instant Yeast
- 56 g Honey
- 300 g All Purpose Flour
- 50 g Lard
- 2 Yolks
- 125 g Poppy Seeds
- 96 g Honey
- 1 Lemon Peels grated
- 1 g Orange Peels grated
- 50 g Raisins
- 50 Walnuts
- 1 Vanillin sachet or ½ tsp vanilla extract
- 155 g Milk hot
- Heat the milk to warm it, once ready put it in a bowl adding a teaspoon of honey and the dry yeast, mix and let the yeast activate.125 ml Milk, 56 g Honey, 7 g Instant Yeast
- In a bowl put the rest of the honey with the other ingredients for the dough, add the yeast mixed with the milk and knead well. Do not add any more flour.56 g Honey, 50 g Lard, 2 Yolks, 300 g All Purpose Flour
- Cover with a cloth and leave to rise in a warm place for about 1 hour. While the dough rises, prepare the filling.
- Heat the milk, put the poppy seeds in a pot and add the boiling milk and soak for 10 minutes.155 g Milk, 125 g Poppy Seeds
- Boil for 20-25 min. If they dry, add a little more milk, enough to cover them. After cooking time, drain them well and grind them.
- Chop the walnuts and raisins. Grate the lemon and orange peels.50 g Raisins, 50 Walnuts
- In a bowl combine all the ingredients for the filling and mix well.96 g Honey, 1 Lemon Peels, 1 g Orange Peels, 50 g Raisins, 50 Walnuts, 1 Vanillin, 125 g Poppy Seeds
Preparation and Cooking
- Turn on the oven to 200 ° C and let it warm up.
- Roll out the dough (30cm x 25cm) onto a large enough sheet of baking paper so you can roll it up.
- Place the filling on top of the dough, leaving space on each side. Roll starting from the shorter side, pinch the side ends as you roll it. Up to seal it completely. If you want you can wet the edge with water or egg white for a better seal.
- Cover each loaf with milk and decorate with poppy seeds. Place in the oven to bake at 200 ° C for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180 ° C (I baked it at 175) and bake for another 40-45 minutes, depending on the oven.
- Once out of the oven, cover it with a slightly damp cloth and let it sit for a while to soften it.
- Serve once cold and cut into slices.
The nutrition information shown is an estimate provided by an online nutrition calculator. It should not be considered a substitute for the advice of a professional nutritionist.