Thursday, April 8, 2010

Baba: The Pictoral Tour

What is Baba you may ask? Well the word means "old woman", but to the Hagala family it is an annual Easter tradition. It began in Slovakia, and is made every year on the day before Easter. Basically we mix eggs, bread, ham, and bacon, then bake it in loaves. Come, take a peek into the tradition....
The breaking of the bread:

Done a few days ahead of time to dry it out so that it will soak up all the eggs.
The breaking of the eggs (6 dozen to be exact):
Usually done by the youngest members of the family. Watch out for shells!

Meanwhile, the ham and bacon are sliced:

Once the eggs are cracked they are blended in the traditional blender, used 'only for baba'.
It always produces a hot dusty smell. (Of course one year it produced smoke...)
Then the "gishing" begins:
Traditional 'Baba only' gishing pans. Six hands is about the limit.
 Sustenance. Yes, I believe he shoved that whole piece of banana in Elijah's mouth.
The rolling of the dough (to line the pans):
OK- so here is the dough story- this is the part of the Baba process seemingly done by the eldest family member. (I really don't know why it is so special, we just line the pans with it then cut it off the Baba.) After much begging my dad let me do the dough this year. He claims he didn't do the dough until his dad was in a nursing home. He hung over my shoulder and made comments enough to make me feel like I didn't know what I was doing- despite the fact that I make doughs and breads and such on a regular basis.
Note the rolling pin.(yep- 'baba only' , how did you know?) But it is possibly Grandma Rosie's. This year I questioned- "Who in the world is Grandma Rosie?? 'Never heard of her!' " Well come to find out, she was one of my dad's mom's step-moms. "One of?" I asked. Yeah, her dad had been married like seven times- his wives all kept dying! Weird!
Hannah buttering the pans for the dough that doesn't get eaten. (Chris eats it though.) Go Hannah!
 The whole group:

Next step is putting the Baba into the dough lined pans:

Then foil tents so the Baba doesn't burn on top...and into the oven!
 Left over dough- doesn't John look like he could be 17? He needs a haircut.

Voila! Baba!
Now eat and enjoy! It seems for most though, you either like it...

...or you don't. 

I think it is an acquired taste.


  1. Is it a requirement to make baba in such huge amounts? Is that what Grandma Rosie said? That is A LOT of baba!

  2. Oh yes. At least 6 loaves. We give a lot of it away.

  3. awww...i remember you always brought some to school. <3