Wednesday, March 3, 2010


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Paska - Easter Bread

Easter is fast approaching and I am beginning to get the annual calls for Paska bread. This is another wonderful and traditional Ukrainian/Eastern European bread that we make for the family but do not sell. Our family is predominately Polish, however, some of our tribe hail from the southern areas, in what is now the Ukraine, and bring some Ukrainian influences into our traditions. Paska is traditionally round and decorated with a braided cross to symbolize Christ's resurrection.

Since we do not sell Paska, I am going to post my mother's paska bread recipe. This recipe is an adapted and altered version of the one found in The Anniversary Slovak-American Cook Book (1952) edited by The First Catholic Slovak Ladies Association.

Mom's Paska
Yield: 1 round paska, 2 loaves, and a few buns

8 cups All Purpose Flour
2 tbs. salt
1 cup warm water
3/4 cup sugar
1 stick of butter
1 tbs. sugar
2 cups milk, at boiling point
2 dry packs of yeast
3 eggs
1 cup yellow raisins (optional)

1. Put yeast in 1/2 cup of warm water with the one tablespoon of sugar and set aside.

2. Heat the milk to boiling point, then turn off heat and add the sugar and salt to dissolve.

3. Add 1 stick of frozen butter (two reasons: 1. mom's is always frozen and 2. because it will help the milk to cool down). To test the temperature of the milk mixture, Mom puts her little finger in the liquid. When she can hold it for 10 seconds, "with out your finger burning off", then the milk is at the right temperature to proceed. If you put your yeast in the scalding hot milk, you will kill your yeast! Normal people can also use a thermometer. The milk should be lukewarm or between 80-100 degrees

4. Beat the eggs in a separate bowl. Temper the eggs (put some of the warm liquid in the eggs to and mix to bring the eggs up to temperature) and add them to the milk. If you add the eggs with out tempering, you may cook the eggs and have to start over.

5. Add the yeast to the warm milk mixture.

6. Now gradually add the flour while stirring. Keep adding until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl. Mom adheres to 8 cups of flour and says "If it seems sticky, don't worry about it because it will pick up more flour when you knead it." However, I find that you may not need all 8 or may need more depending on where you live or the humidity the day you bake.

7. Dump the dough out and knead a little, then put into a greased bowl or pot and let rise.

8. After the dough has doubled in size, dump it out onto a floured board and knead again. Add the raisins and divide the dough into loaves.

9. Grease and flour the pans you are going to use. Then gently put your formed loaves into the pans. Cover with a towel and let rise again until doubled in size.

10. Brush the top of the loaves with a beaten egg mixed with a little water or milk and place into a 350 degree oven. The oven does not need to be preheated. Bake for 50 minutes to an hour.

Hopefully you will use this recipe to bring back some memories for you and your family. Enjoy!

1 comment:

PolishMeKnob said...

Great recipe! Seems a lot like Italian Easter bread, but with less steps and a little less citrus.

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