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Preparing for Paczki Day

Smurawa's Country Bakery has your sweet tooth fix
Posted at 9:26 AM, Feb 25, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-25 14:29:27-05

PULASKI (NBC 26) -- When you walk into Smurawa’s Country Bakery today, there most likely is one item on the menu that you'll desperately want...Paczki's.

Located in the town of Pulaski, this area staple has been hard at work since the late 1990s to feed people near and far, a tasty treat.

"We've already gotten our supplies in, we've gotten our flour, our butter, the eggs, the sugar, the fillings are all ready. We've got everything set up as far as that goes, we are coordinating the orders that are preordered, that are coming in, and we will get those boxed up and lined up by time for them to come in,” said Greg Smurawa.

Nearly 70% of all the paczki’s made in a year come from this week.

Last year, a little more than 36,000 paczki's were sold, the days leading up to and including Fat Tuesday.

But not everyone is lucky enough to live close to a polish bakery, that's why Smurawa's ships paczki's across the country.

"We shipped locally across Wisconsin, Michigan, Minnesota, Illinois, but we have sent them to Seattle, we've sent them to California, Arizona, Florida, Washington D.C., the Carolinas, all across the country," said Greg Smurawa.

But to get them to their final glory, it all starts with a little dough.

The paczki’s begin in a mixer after tossing in all the raw ingredients.

Once the right texture is made, the dough is taken out and laid onto a bench where it's divided into 5 pound pieces.

Those pieces get rounded into small balls, and then placed on frying screens. From there, it’s time to let the dough rise....They'll sit in a proof box for an hour.

Afterwards, the dough will meet its fate with the fryer. Each side gets cooked for 2 to 3 minutes until they turn a delicious golden brown.

Then it’s time to cool off and add on a dusting of powdered or granulated sugar.

The final step: the fillings.

"We started out probably with about 6 or 7 different flavors and then for awhile there, every year we were like well lets add another one, let's see what else we can come up with, be creative and it's kind of a thing where customers are saying well what about this flavor and what about that flavor. We've capped it off with around 18 different flavors which if you can't find the flavor out of 18 flavors, maybe you should go with the plain paczki then," said Greg Smurawa.

So how do you decide which one to eat?? It can be a little overwhelming.

So perhaps, asking some of the locals might steer you in the right direction.

"My favorite flavor is actually raspberry, raspberry is the best, and I do like prune also, when my mother made it, it was always prune," said Joe Jankowski

For Joe Jankowski, having paczki from Smurawa's brings him right back to his childhood.

"It is as close to what my mother made when I was a youngster, that is 75 years plus. When she made paczki's she made 6-8 dozen before lent started," said Joe Jankowski

So if you haven't placed an order yet this morning, not to worry, Smurawa’s will keep making paczki’s well into the evening.

"We've never sold out. We'll keep making them until 6-7 at night. If we know they are coming, we are going to have them; they are going to be able to get their paczki. It's really an incredible thing, the patience and while they wait in line to get their paczki, it's really appreciated and we feel it in their hearts,” said Greg Smurawa.