Divine Poppy Seed Bread the Perfect Pastry Recipe

I’ve got another amazing recipe from my childhood, a divine Poppy Seed Bread that is the perfect pastry recipe. Once a holiday tradition, this treat is now a year round favorite!


My mother was raised in a neighborhood inhabited by many different ethic groups. One of the best things she learned was how to make Eastern European style pastries from her Polish neighbors. She would incorporate them into her holiday baking, forever cementing these treats in my memory. Her Poppy Seed Bread is perhaps the most divine and perfect pastry of them all.

Making my mother’s favorite holiday pastry recipes transports me back to a time when I first learned the magic of Christmas, and of baking for family. It’s a tradition I’ve carried on throughout my life and once again creating her Poppy Seed Bread was a special thrill. It’s not just a dessert, because it’s too good to ignore at breakfast time.

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Poppy Seed Bread


  • 2 cups whole milk
  • 2 packages yeast
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 2 eggs, slightly beaten
  • 1/2 cup shortening (Crisco)
  • 7 to 7 1/2 cups sifted all-purpose flour
  • 4 tablespoons butter
  • 2 cans Poppy seed pastry filling (Solo)
  • 1 cup chopped pecans
  • 1 cup golden raisins


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  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit. Heat milk until tiny bubbles form, about 2-3 minutes.
  2. Put 1/4 cup of hot milk in a small bowl and let cool to lukewarm. Add yeast and let dissolve for five minutes.
  3. In a large bowl add remaining milk and cool. Stir in salt, sugar, shortening and eggs.
  4. Next add dissolved yeast. Then on low speed, beat in half of flour gradually.
  5. By hand, add as much of remaining flour to make the dough easy to handle. Knead on a wooden board for about 5 minutes.
  6. Put dough in a bowl, cover with clean towel, and let rise to double in size for approximately one hour. Knead dough again, place back in bowl and let rise again for another hour.
  7. Divide dough in half. Roll each half into an oblong sheet, about 1/2 inch thick.
  8. Melt butter, then brush over dough. Spread poppy seed pastry filling over dough to half inch from edge. Sprinkle pecans, then raisins. Roll up jelly roll style.
  9. Place both loafs on a parchment lined cookie sheet. Cover and let rise again for one hour.
  10. Bake for 30-35 minutes, until golden brown.

This recipe can be cut in half if you only want to make one loaf.




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