Family Recipes Basic Breads and Easter Bread

Both of my grandmothers were great cooks and bakers. My mother and my aunts were as well, so I am grateful I had the chance to learn from a long line of good cooks.

My grandmother Thelma who I was lucky enough to have grown up with made everything and I mean everything great. I remember most the smell of her breads and buns baking  . I tried early on about 18 years old to make fresh bread and it looked fantastic…. however you could re-sole a shoe with it. Apparently I kneaded it far too long and my grandmother told me a story about her when she first married my grandfather Khale. She was learning to make bread and it also looked beautiful but she said you could nail it on the wall haha. Well she kept at it and she mastered it for sure. She never had a written recipe so one day long ago I had wrote down some of her recipes.


My grandmother Ana came from Croatia at age 17 and I never had the privilege to know her as she passed away before I was born but she also brought recipes from home with her and I made sure I learned them, my dad would say how great she cooked and baked and my aunt Rose was also great at all the above so she would make recipes from her mom my grandma and so I wrote them down and cherished them for decades.


The other day I was shocked and a bit taken back by a woman who insisted that I remove  one of my grandmother Ana’s recipes and I was so sad and angry because these were recipes I made for  over 35 years and was just sharing them with you. She claimed I stole her Easter bread recipe and I wrote her back explaining I had these for decades and often many people from around the same village may have similar recipes.

You know at first she frightened me because I am all new to this blogging stuff, I write about about my bone issues and health and I do add family recipes and some I just throw together now that I eat cleaner more plant based. But still cherish old family history and recipes. So I removed it and explained to her I had this recipe for decades and sorry if she was offended by it. But the more I thought about it the more frustrated I got  because this was from my family and I have the right to post it. Especially when I posted it originally over a year ago. 

So I am reposting my family’s recipes and whatever happens so be it.


Grandma Thelma’s Homemade Buns


1 cup water 110F

1 cup whole milk 110F

2/3 cup sugar

1 1/2 tablespoons active dry yeast

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

1/4 cup mild vegetable oil — coconut oil works really well here!

5-1/2 to 6-1/2 cups bread flour

2 tablespoons melted butter

Conventional Method

Dissolve the sugar in the warm water and milk in a large bowl.

Whisk in the yeast.

Set aside for 5 to 10 minutes, or until the yeast mixture gets foamy.

Whisk in the salt and oil.

With the mixer running add the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough pulls away from the bowl.

If you are hand kneading mix in the flour until you have a sticky dough, turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 10 minutes or until the dough is smooth and elastic – adding flour as needed.

Oil a large bowl and place the ball of dough in it.

Oil the top of the dough and then cover with a damp cloth.

Allow it to rise until it has doubled in bulk. This will take about an hour.

Punch the dough down.

Knead for 2 minutes  and divide in half.

Let rest for five to 10  minutes.

Shape into loaves and then place in greased 9×5-inch loaf pans.

Brush the tops with the melted butter.

Let rise for 30 minutes, or until the dough has risen an inch or so above the pans.

Bake at 350 degrees F for 30 minutes, or until loaves sound hollow when tapped.

For a soft crust butter the tops  about 10 minutes after removing from oven. Let them cool for about 5 more minutes and then take them out of the pans to finish cooling, covering them back up with the tea towel.



Hot Cross Buns


1/4 cup apple juice or rum I use apple juice

1/2 cup raisins or dried currants

1 1/4 cups milk, room temperature

2 large eggs, plus 1 egg yolk (save the white for the topping)

6 tablespoons butter, room temperature

2 teaspoons instant yeast

1/4 cup light brown sugar, firmly packed

1 ½  teaspoon  ground cinnamon

1/4   teaspoon ground cloves or allspice

1/8 teaspoon ground nutmeg

1   teaspoons salt

1 tablespoon baking powder

4 1/2 cups AP flour – I use King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour


1 large egg white, reserved from above

1 tablespoon milk


1 cup + 2 tablespoons confectioners’ sugar

1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

pinch of salt

4 teaspoons milk, or enough to make a thick, pipeable icing


Lightly grease a 10″ square pan .

Mix the rum, or apple juice with the dried fruit and raisins, cover with a bowl or lid , and microwave briefly, like 20 seconds tops just till the fruit and liquid are very warm,

Set aside to cool to room temperature. When the fruit is cool, mix together all of the dough ingredients (including the eggs and the egg yolk from the separated egg); hold out the fruit for the time being. Knead the mixture, using an electric mixer or bread machine, until the dough is soft and elastic. Mix in the fruit and any liquid not absorbed.

Let the dough rise for 1 hour, covered. It should become puffy, though may not double in bulk.

Divide the dough into billiard ball-sized pieces, about 3 3/4 ounces each. A heaped muffin scoop (about 1/3 cup) makes about the right portion. You’ll make 12 to 14 buns. Use your greased hands to round them into balls. Arrange them in the prepared pan.

Cover the pan, and let the buns rise for 1 hour, or until they’ve puffed up and are touching one another. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 360°F.

Whisk together the reserved egg white and milk, and brush it over the buns.

Bake the buns for 20 to 25 minutes, until they’re golden brown. Remove from the oven, carefully turn the buns out of the pan (they should come out in one large piece), and transfer them to a rack to cool.

Mix together the icing ingredients, and when the buns are completely cool, pipe it in a cross shape atop each bun.


Grandma Ana’s – Croatian Easter Bread

A popular, sweet yeast bread made by Croatians at Easter time, this is often placed in the Easter food basket to be blessed on Holy Saturday and eaten Easter morning


For the dough

26.4 oz  AP Flour I use King Arthur all-purpose flour

2 seven oz packets dry yeast

4 oz sugar

pinch of salt

2 tablespoon  vanilla sugar

2.6 oz  butter

2.6 oz  lard

½  cups (150 ml) warm milk

4  oz  sour cream

3 eggs

1 egg yolk

2¾ tbsp   plum brandy aka slivovitz or I use apple juice

3 oz   raisins

1.5 oz  mixed  candied fruit

Finely grated zest of 1 orange

Finely grated zest of  1 lemon

Egg wash

1 egg

Pinch of sugar


Soak raisins in brandy or juice

Sift flour into a bowl. Add salt, sugar and vanilla sugar.

Dissolve yeast in warm milk and add to the flour mixture.

Add your eggs, yolk, sour cream and citrus zest. Then add candied fruit and raisins together with rum. Knead until soft dough forms. Make sure to knead it for about 10 minutes. Cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise in warm place until doubled in size (about 1 hour).

Punch the dough and knead it again, adding melted and cooled butter and lard.

Cover with clean kitchen towel and let rise in warm place until again doubled in size.

Shape the dough into 4 round loafs  and place them onto baking sheet covered with parchment paper. Let them rest for 20-30 minutes. Using kitchen scissors  cut a cross into the surface of each bun. Brush the surface with whisked egg and let stand for 10 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees

Bake for 30-35 minutes. While  warn not hot, brush lightly with butter and sprinkle  with sugar optional

Grandma Ana’s Peasant Bread

4 cups unbleached All-Purpose Flour

2 teaspoons kosher salt or 1 1/2 teaspoons table salt

2 teaspoons sugar

2 1/4 teaspoons active dry or instant yeast

2 cups lukewarm water


In a large bowl, whisk together the flour, salt, sugar, and yeast. Add the water and mix until the water is absorbed and the dough comes together in a sticky ball.

Cover the bowl and set aside in a warm spot to rise for 1 to 1 1/ 2 hours, until the dough has doubled in bulk.

Place a rack in the lower third of the oven and preheat it to 425°F. Use the butter to generously grease two 1-quart oven-safe bowls or a 3-quart casserole dish (for one large loaf).

Use two forks to deflate the dough by releasing it from the side of the bowl and pulling it toward the center. Rotate the bowl as you deflate, turning the mass into a rough ball. To make a single large loaf, pick up the mixing bowl, turn it over, and plop the dough into the larger casserole dish.

To make two small loaves, use your forks to separate the dough down the center, dividing it into two equal pieces. Use the forks to lift each half of the dough into the prepared bowls. If the dough is wet and hard to handle, try lightly greasing your hands and transfer each half to a bowl by hand.

Don’t cover the dough. Let it rise on the countertop in a warm spot for 10 to 20 minutes, until the top of the dough just crests the rims of the small bowls, or is almost doubled in the larger casserole dish.

Bake the bread for 15 minutes. Reduce the heat to 375°F and bake for 17 to 20 minutes more for smaller loaves, or 25 to 30 minutes more for a single large loaf. When golden brown all over, remove from the oven and turn the bread out onto a cooling rack.

Store, well wrapped, at room temperature for several days; freeze for longer storage.

My Oatmeal Bread

3/4 cup lukewarm water

1 3/4 cups “quick” rolled oats

1 tablespoon active dry yeast

2 tablespoons raw honey

1 tablespoon brown sugar

6 tablespoons (3/4 stick) butter

1/2 cup unsweetened applesauce

1  teaspoons salt

1/2 cup instant mashed potato flakes

2 1/4 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour

1 tablespoons oats, to sprinkle on top


Preheat oven to 350 degrees fnht

Combine the 3/4 cup water and oats, and let rest for 20 minutes. This gives the oats a chance to absorb the water and soften up.

If you’re using active or dry yeast, dissolve it in 2 tablespoons of the lukewarm water with a pinch of sugar. It should start to bubble as the oats and water rest.

Add the remaining ingredients to the oats (including the yeast/water/sugar mixture, if you’re using active dry yeast), and mix and knead by hand until the dough feels springy; it will be stiff.

Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and allow it to rise, covered, for 2 hours.

Gently punch the dough, and shape it into an 9 inch  log. Place it in a lightly greased 9×5 loaf pan. Cover the pan loosely with lightly greased plastic wrap.

Allow the dough to rise at room temperature for 1 1/2  to  2 hours, until it’s  about 1 inch over the rim of the pan.

Brush the top of the loaf with milk, and sprinkle with oats.

Bake the bread for 20 to 25  minutes  then tent  it loosely with aluminum foil, and bake for an additional 20 to 30 minutes. When the bread is done, it’ll be golden brown. Remove the bread from the oven, wait 5 minutes, then turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Cool completely before slicing.

Store wrapped at room temperature.




1 cup milk

1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter

1 package active dry yeast

2 tablespoons sugar

5 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus additional for shaping)

1 cup sour cream

1/4 cup vegetable or canola oil

1 large egg (slightly beaten)

1 teaspoon salt

This is optional I don’t always fill them. But when I do here is ingredients for filling:

½ handful of parsley

1 cup feta cheese

1 tablespoon honey


In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add salt, sugar and oil and stir until completely mixed.

Add flour and mix until a cohesive dough forms. Knead until smooth. Place dough in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled.

Heat oven to 300 degrees

Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and shape into a flat round. Transfer to a sheet pan that has been lined with parchment paper.

Prick loaf all over with a fork. Rub top of bread with oil.

Let stand  uncovered, 20 minutes in a warm place.

Bake 30 minutes. Let cool completely on a wire rack before you cut into it

*when or if you fill them you add a small amount and close it well so filling doesn’t ooze out.

Zlevanka Sweet Corn Bread

Simple easy and delicious. This recipe I simplified from the old school method of lard.


3 whole eggs

10 Tbs sugar

2 cups corn flour

1/2 cup cooked corn

1 cup unbleached all-purpose flour

2 tsp baking powder

1 cup sour cream

2/3 cup canola oil

1 cup milk

12 oz cottage cheese

2 tsp vanilla extract


Mix together eggs and sugar.

Add corn flour, all-purpose flour, baking powder, sour cream, oil, milk, cottage cheese and vanilla.

Pour into a large oiled baking tray.

Bake for about 20 to 25 minutes at 350 degrees Fahrenheit


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