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Eastern European Easter Bread Recipes

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After the strict fasting of Lent, an explosion of "forbidden" foods appears on the Eastern European Easter table. There is no better example than these slightly sweet yeast breads full of butter, sugar and, sometimes, cheese. A staggering number of eggs, a symbol of fertility, rebirth, spring, and the Resurrection, figures prominently in them. Their names, often some form of the word paska, which means "Easter," can be a bread in some countries and a molded cheese dessert in others. The fun is in trying to figure out which is which! Check out these other Easter Bread Recipes Around the World.

1. Eastern European Egg Twist Recipe

Bohemian / Czech Hoska Easter Bread
© 2009 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This rich, eggy, slightly sweet yeast bread exists in almost every culture. Bohemians and Czechs call it houska, Poles, who call it chalka, adopted it from their Jewish countrymen who refer to it as challah, and on and on. Leftovers make great French toast and bread pudding.

2. Bulgarian Easter Bread Recipe - Kozunak

Easter Bread
© Ineedathis on Flickr
This Bulgarian bread, known as kozunak, is featured at Christmas, Easter and other special occasions. It is an egg-rich braided loaf stuffed with rum-soaked raisins.

3. Croatian Easter Bread Dolls Recipe - Primorski Uskrsne Bebe

Croatian Easter Bread Dolls or Primorski Uskrsne Bebe
© 2009 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Croatian Easter Bread Dolls take center stage on a table all decked out in Easter linens, silver and crystal. Kids love them! But the most popular Easter bread is a sweet yeast-raised round loaf known as pinca or sirnica. A small loaf of this cake-like bread is placed in the basket of food to be blessed on Holy Saturday. Read more about How Croatians celebrate Easter.

4. Czech Easter Cake Recipe - Velikonocní Bochanek

Czech Easter Bread or Velikonocni Bochanek
© Flickr
This recipe for Czech Easter Cake or velikonoční bochánek (veh-lih-kaw-nawtch-nee baw-khah-nek) is identical to Czech Christmas bread or vanocka except for the shaping.

5. Hungarian Easter Bread Recipe - Fonott Kalacs

Hungarian Easter Bread
© Flickr by Vonsachsen
This recipe for Hungarian egg twist or fonott kalacs is a slightly sweet braided loaf with raisins served for Easter, Christmas or any time of year. In general, kalacs (kaw-lahch) refers to any yeast-raised cake or sweet bread.

6. Lithuanian Easter Bread Recipe - Velykos Pyragas

Lithuanian Easter Bread or Velykos Pyragas
© 2010 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
Lithuanian Easter bread is similar to many other Eastern European offerings -- a sweet yeast dough with raisins. It's delicious on Easter morning slathered with butter and a good accompaniment to the hard-cooked colored eggs everyone "clinks" together to see whose egg is the strongest.

7. Polish Egg Twist Bread Recipe - Chalka

Polish Egg Twist Bread or Chałka
© 2010 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This recipe for Polish chałka (HOW-kah) is a rich, braided egg bread that may or may not contain raisins. It's similar to Bohemian-Czech hoska, Jewish challah and French brioche. Chalka is served year-round, but especially at Christmas and Easter. If you have any leftover chalka, it makes delicious French toast or bread pudding with orange sauce or makowki (Polish poppyseed bread pudding).

8. Romanian Easter Bread Recipe - Cozonac

Romanian Easter Bread - Cozonac
Flickr by yujai
Romanian Easter bread is called the Italian panettone of Romania because of its shape and similar texture. Bulgarians serve the same bread but call it kozunak. When Romanian Easter bread dough is filled with farmers cheese, it becomes the delicious pasca, which, in turn, is similar to Polish kolacz.

9. Russian Easter Bread Recipe - Kulich

Russian Easter Bread - Kulich
Flickr by happy-dee-dooo
Russian Easter bread takes the form of kulich, a tall, cylindrical sweet yeast-risen bread. On Easter morning, Russian ladies engage in a little good-natured rivalry centering around who has the tallest kulich while waiting for the priest to bless their basket of delicacies.

10. Serbian Easter Egg Bread Recipe

Serbian Easter Egg Bread
Flickr by Souvlaki For The Soul
This sweet braided egg bread features red hard-cooked eggs, symbolizing the blood Christ shed and his rebirth or resurrection. Some people shape their bread into a cross with an egg at the head, foot and arms of the cross. This is very similar to Bohemian hoska.
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