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Ukrainian Easter Bread Recipe - Paska

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Ukrainian Easter Bread

Ukrainian Easter Bread

Flickr by Blue Fin
Ukrainian Easter bread or paska (which means Easter) is a slightly sweet egg bread that can be decorated with religious symbols. It's taken to church on Easter morning in a special basket with other foods to be blessed. Slovaks also serve paska at Easter but this is not to be confused with the molded Easter cheese dessert of the same name. Ukrainians also feature babka for Easter but instead of the fluted shape favored by the Poles, theirs looks more like a Russian kulich.

See Easter Breads Across Eastern Europe and Easter Bread Recipes Around the World.

Makes 1 large Ukrainian Easter Bread

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 55 minutes

Total Time: 1 hour, 15 minutes

Ingredients:

  • 1/2 teapoon plus 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 2 1/2 cups plus 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 3 beaten large eggs
  • 1/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons salt

Preparation:

  1. Scald the milk and set aside to cool to lukewarm. Dissolve 1/2 teaspoon sugar in water and sprinkle yeast over it. Mix and let stand 10 minutes. Combine yeast mixture with scalded milk and 2 1/2 cups flour. Beat until smooth. Cover and let rise until light and bubbly.

  2. Add eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter, salt and 4 1/2 to 5 cups flour to make a dough that is not too stiff and not too slack. Knead until dough no longer sticks to the hand and is smooth and satiny (about 7 minutes in a mixer, longer by hand). Place in a greased bowl, turn to grease both sides, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let rise again.

  3. Reserve 1/3 of the dough for decorating. Shape the rest into a round loaf and place in a 10- to 12-inch greased round pan. Now shape the reserved dough into decorations of choice -- a cross, swirls, rosettes, braiding, etc. Cover the pan with greased plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled.

  4. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Brush bread with 1 large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water. Bake 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 degrees and bake an additional 40 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees. If necessary, cover the top of the bread with aluminum foil to prevent overbrowning. Remove from oven and turn out onto wire rack to cool completely.

  5. Note: Some cooks make a stiffer, nonyeast, sculpting dough for the decorations so the shapes won't distort when baked. You can use the one as described in Serbian cesnica.

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