Paska is a traditional Ukrainian Easter sweet bread. It’s normally braided in a fashion similar to challah and the three braids represent the Holy Trinity. The traditional round shape of the bread also represents God, and remind us that God has no beginning and no end.
According to Wise Geek, Easter food originated in the Ukraine or Poland. And it’s believed that this type of food was introduced to the U.S. by people of the Mennonite Faith. Normally, Paska or Babka is made with very few ingredients and is a very simple bread.
It may seem like a lot of steps, and we won’t lie to you, it will take up a good chunk of your day. But let us tell you, it’s totally worth it. This was the first bread we’ve ever made, and we think it’s a great starter bread because it’s not that hard to make just time consuming. But hey, the best things take time right?
**We apologize in in advance for the blurry photos, we didn’t realize that the lens was dirty. So sorry in advance.
- 2 1/2 cup raisins
- 2 packages of dry yeast
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 8 egg yolks
- 2 whole eggs
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 12 cups AP flour (at minium, sifted)
- 2 whole oranges (including zest and juice)
- 1 lemon zest
- 1 tsp salt
- 1/2 quart milk (scalded, then cooled)
- 1 stick + 2 tablespoons (melted)
- Flour for sprinkling and kneading
- 1 egg (beaten)
- 2 tsp sugar
- 1/3 cup of water
- 2 tablespoon of sugar
If you’re in a hurry, put raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water to plump them up. If you have the time, it’s best to cover the raisins with your choice of triple sec, orange juice, or even water and let them sit over night to really reconstitute them.
Dissolve 1 tablespoon of sugar in 1 cup of lukewarm water. Sprinkle the yeast over the water and let stand of 10 to 15 minutes.
(Isn’t that yummy looking?)
Preheat the oven to 170°.
In a stand mixer (or with a hand mixer) beat eggs on a high speed until light in color.
Next, add the sugar gradually while the mixer is still beating the eggs.
Add the salt, cooled milk, zest of the lemon and orange, orange juice, and melted butter. Mix until combined.
If using a stand mixer, replace whisk attachment with dough hook. Start very slowly adding the flour, about a 1/4 of a cup at a time. Do this until all flour is incorporated. This will be a very sticky dough.
Next transfer the dough to a floured counter-space, add the drained raisins to the dough and continue kneading. Add flour as kneaded (heh heh).
(See how sticky it is, don’t be alarmed, just keep kneading and adding flour)
Pace in a large bowl, and cover with a damp dish towel. At this point, turn off the oven (and open the oven door to let out some heat). Place the covered dough in the oven and allow to proof (raise). This all depends on where you are, how hot it is. It took ours about an hour and half to double in size.
While we waited for the dough to rise, we played hide the treat with Peaches.
Once the dough has doubled in size, punch down the dough again, and let raise again.
While the dough is rising, prepare your bread pans. Now there are two ways to do this, the first is to butter the pan, and then cover with parchment paper. Or, you can just spray cooking spray. Both work perfectly, and it’s really your preference.
Divide the dough between the pans (we used FIVE) and once again cover with a damp dish towel, and let double in size. Preheat the oven to 375°.
Before you put the loaves in the oven, mix together one egg and two teaspoons of sugar and brush over the loaves. Bake at 375° for 10 minutes. Then lower the heat to 275° and bake for 25 to 30 minutes or until the the internal temperature reads 185° to 190°.
When the loaves are done, remove from the oven and glaze with sugar dissolved in water. Let stand in the pans for 10 minutes before removing.
The traditional way to enjoy this bread (according to Aunty Alyce) is toasted with a little butter.
We made this bread in honor of Grandma/Aunty Alyce. She passed away at the age of 92 last November. We definitely felt her presence while we were making this! 🙂