1 recipe Yeast Dough
1/2 cake compressed yeast (3 ounces), or 1/2 package active dry yeast
2 tablespoons plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar, in all
2 teaspoons warm water (900-95°F for compressed yeast, 100°-115°F for dry yeast)
1 pound instant-blending or all-purpose flour
3/4 teaspoon salt
13/4 cups warm milk (95°F), in all
2 egg yolks
1 egg white
6 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted and cooled to lukewarm
Mix the yeast, 1/2 teaspoon of sugar, and 2 teaspoons of warm water, and proof the yeast
MIXING AND KNEADING WITH AN ELECTRIC MIXER
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the yeast mixture, the remaining sugar, 2Y2 cups of flour, salt, and 1Y2 cups of milk, and, with the dough hook, mix at low speed for 1 minute. Beat the egg yolks with a fork to blend, whip the egg white with a wire whisk or electric hand beater until stiff peaks form and blend them both into the dough with a wooden spoon or spatula. Add the remaining flour and milk and mix at low speed for 1 minute. Switch to medium speed and beat for 2 minutes.
Change back to low speed, gradually adding the barely warm butter, and then continue to beat for 1-2 minutes. For the final beating, which is equivalent to hand kneading, turn the mixer to medium-high speed and beat for 9-10 minutes, stopping twice to allow the motor to cool off for 2 minutes each. The dough is ready when it no longer sticks to the sides of the bowl and when it peels off your fingers when you knead it.
All-purpose flour for roll ing out the dough
1 egg yolk beaten with 1/2 teaspoon each oil and water for egg glaze
½ recipe Cheese Filling for Vatrushki
CHEESE FILLING FOR VATRUSHKI
1 tablespoon sour cream
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
1 egg yolk
1/4 teaspoon sugar
3/4 pound Homemade Cottage Cheese
1/ teaspoon caraway seeds)
Salt to taste
In the bowl of an electric mixer, combine the sour cream, butter, egg yolk, and sugar, and beat at maximum speed for 2 minutes. Add the cheese, caraway seeds, and salt to taste. Beat at medium speed for 1-2 minutes more, or until completely blended. Check for seasoning. Beat for another minute.
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted, for brushing the baked vatrushki
A 21/2- or 3-inch plain round cookie cutter
A 4-inch plain round cookie cutter or saucer
A cookie sheet
On a floured board, roll out the dough about Y4 inch thick, then cut out 4-inch circles, using a saucer or a cookie cutter for a guide. Gather the trimmings into 2-inch balls and roll each out into a 4-inch circle; trim with a cutter if necessary. There should be about 24 circles; 12 for the bottoms of the vatrushki and 12 for the tops. With a 2Y2- or 3-inch round cookie cutter, cut out the center of 12 rounds. Only the rings will be used in this recipe. For using the centers, see Note.
Butter the cookie sheet and place the 12 full circles of dough on it, 1 inch apart. Brush with egg glaze and place the rings over them, aligning the edges. Spoon the filling inside the rings, cover with a towel, and set to rise in a warm place (76°-82°F) for 20 minutes.
Place the baking rack at the middle level of the oven and preheat the oven to 375°F.
Brush the vatrushki again with egg glaze and bake for 15-20 minutes, or until golden brown.
Brush with the butter, cover with a cloth, and let sit for 10 minutes. Serve hot or cool with soups, especially borscht, shchi, and other hearty soups.