Susan’s crumb kuchen coffee cake (placek)

My wife Susan’s crumb kuchen coffee cake recipe, a variation on a classic yeast-based Polish placek, from her home neighborhood in Buffalo, New York. In Susan’s family kuchen is a traditional Easter morning treat, with butter from the Malczewski Market butter lamb, and sautéed smoked and fresh kielbasa sausages with horseradish and Weber’s mustard.

Crumb kuchen cake, or Polish placek.
Makes: 4 loaf cakes
Time: About 5 hours, mostly unattended

For the kuchen dough

  • 2 cups of milk, lukewarm
  • 2 tablespoons of sugar
  • 3 cups of bread flour
  • 6.75 teaspoons of yeast (3 packages)
  • 1.5 cups of butter, softened
  • 2 cups of white sugar
  • 6 eggs
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 4 cups of bread flour
  • 2 teaspoons of vanilla extract
  • 2 cups of golden raisins

For the crumb topping

  • 1.5 cups plus 2 tablespoons of general-purpose flour
  • 2.25 cups of white sugar
  • 4 tablespoons of shortening, room temperature
  • 8 tablespoons of butter, room temperature

Process

  1. In a mixer, combine the lukewarm milk, 2 tablespoons of sugar, 3 cups of flour, and the yeast and mix thoroughly. Set aside for an hour to let the yeast begin to rise.
  2. Mix the soft butter and 2 cups of sugar, then add the eggs one at a time, stirring constantly. Add the salt, flour, vanilla, raisins, and lemon zest and mix thoroughly.
  3. Combine the flour and sugar dough batch with the yeast dough batch and mix thoroughly, until the combination forms a smooth, elastic dough.
  4. Divide the dough into four parts, and place the dough into 4 greased 5 x 9 x 2.5 inch loaf pans.
  5. Allow the dough to rise until doubled in volume (about an hour), then punch down.
  6. Let the dough rise again until it rises to .75 inch below the rim of the loaf pan.
  7. While the dough is rising for the final time, make the crumb topping.
  8. Pre-heat your oven to 375°F.
  9. Mix all the ingredients for the crumb topping with a folk, until a course crumbly mixture forms.
  10. Sprinkle the crumb mixture onto the tops of the fully-risen bread loaves.
  11. Bake for 30-40 minutes at 375°F, until the edges of the loaf tops form a golden brown crust.

The finished crumb kuchen coffee cake loaf (placek).

Sliced crumb kuchen coffee cake loaf (placek).

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