Paska (Easter Bread)
Sometimes you eat sweet bread for breakfast, and pretend like it's not actually dessert.
No judgement, right?
It's Paska season!!!
Now, if you're of German, Ukrainian or Russian descent....then you probably know what's up with Paska. If you're not, then you might be a bit confused. Paska is a sweet bread that is made for Easter, and is often topped with icing and sprinkles! (You can read more about it here)
All you really need to know is that it's white bread with sprinkles. That gets an A in my book any day!
My lovely momma helped me whip up this batch of paska, as she is the expert bread maker in our house! She's a pretty swell teacher, and I hope one day I can bake bread as well as her!
If you're a bit nervous about yeast baking....don't be! Homemade bread always wins.
This recipe comes from my Auntie Irene (who technically isn't my aunt, but is best buds with my mom....you know how it is). She has such a generous spirit, and is known for baking batch after batch of this stuff and gifting it away to everyone she meets. She's the best!
p a s k a
recipe from: Irene Claassen
yield: approximately 5 loaves, or 40-45 buns (this will depend on the size)
2 1/2 tsp yeast
1 cup warm water
2 tsp sugar
2 cups milk
3/4 cup butter
1 1/2 cup sugar
1 tsp salt
1 tsp vanilla
1 lemon (juiced and zested)
9-10 cups flour
1) In a small bowl, mix together yeast, warm water and sugar. Set aside for about 10 minutes to let rise. (If it doesn't get nice and puffy, try again. If your yeast is old and not rising, you'll want to buy some new stuff!)
2) Add milk and butter together in a small saucepan, and heat until butter is melted. Remove from heat and cool.
3) In a large bowl, beat eggs until frothy.
4) Slowly add the sugar to your eggs, then add salt, vanilla, lemon juice and lemon zest.
*Now this is when you'll want to pour the mixture into a Bosch bread mixer (or attach a dough hook to your beaters).
5) Add yeast mixture, as well as the butter and milk to the egg mixture.
6) Start adding flour, and stop when the dough starts to pull away from the sides of your bowl. For us, it was around 9 3/4 cups, but it'll be a bit different every time depending on the size of your eggs and lemon. This is quite a sticky dough, so don't be tempted to add any more flour than you really need to....otherwise you'll get tough paska!
7) Once your dough has pulled away from the sides, keep mixing for another 8 minutes. (Or you can always knead by hand!).
8) Transfer into a large, greased bowl, cover with a clean tea towel, and let rise in a warm place for 1 1/2 hours (or until doubled in size). Then punch down, and let rise for another half hour.
9) Form dough into loaves (or buns) and place on greased pans to rise for another 1-2 hours.
10) For loaves: bake at 325 degrees for 10 minutes, and then at 275 degrees for 15-20 minutes more until nicely browned. If you're nervous about them not being done, you can always cut a loaf open to make sure the inside isn't gummy!
For buns: bake at 325 degrees for 13 minutes.
Optional: You can choose to serve these with icing and sprinkles, or toasted with butter.
Butter Cream Icing
In a medium bowl, mix together butter, icing sugar, and two tablespoons of cream. Add more cream until desired consistency is reached.
1/2 cup butter (room temperature)
3 cups icing sugar
2-4 tablespoons cream (or milk)
1 tsp vanilla
Paska is best fresh, so we pop most of ours into the freezer (sometimes we slice our loaves before that),
and then take them out whenever we desire!
Some people like icing the top of their bread, others like to slice it and then ice the face of the bread. My family loves toasting it and topping it with butter! Sweet and salty. So good.
There really isn't a wrong way to do it. So whatever floats your boat is just fine!
All of the sprinkles that were used in the making of this post made me insanely happy.
What didn't make me happy was walking on sprinkles, and sweeping up sprinkles forever and ever.
They're kind of like glitter....you can never really get rid of them all!