Paska Recipe. Ukrainian Tradition.
One of my favorite memories of Easter is my Grandmother making Paska, a traditional Easter bread for us each year and this is the Paska recipe that she used.
There is nothing like breathing in the familiar smells of warm rising dough full of yeast, butter and eggs to take me back to the Easters of my childhood. I will treasure memories of sitting in front of a plate of freshly sliced bread with full access to the butter to slather across the slice and no adult to tell me to stop.
My Grandmother didn’t make it with the traditional red dyed, hard boiled eggs tucked into the braids but she did make a nice braid out of the dough.
I have opted to go a little more modern and forgo the braiding all together and opt for loaf or round pans. This traditional bread is full of eggs and butter.
It is rich, thick and makes AMAZING french toast if you can keep it around for more than a few hours.
My Version of a Paska Recipe.
Just know that this is not a quick process and you should a lot at least 4 hours for the entire process if you are making a single recipe. Recently my sister and I made three batches and it took us just over 6 hours.
Trust me, the time is well worth it!
Paska Recipe Ingredients:
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 1 cup lukewarm water
- 2 1/2 t. granular yeast
- 3 cups whole milk, scalded and cooled
- 5 cups all purpose flour
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 2/3 cup butter, melted
- 1 Tablespoon Salt
- 9-10 ADDITIONAL cups All purpose flour
- 1 egg, for brushing over bread
Technique and Directions:
Combine the sugar, warm water and yeast and allow to sit for about 10 minutes until the yeast becomes soft and starts to bloom.
Combine the yeast mixture with the cooled scalded milk and 5 cups flour. I tell you to cool the scalded milk because if the milk is too hot (120 F or higher) then it starts to kill the yeast. Optimal temperature is about 100F.
This is what your mixture should look like after stirring.
Cover and allow to rise in a warm place until light and bubbly. Depending on how warm your warm place will be this could take an hour or so.
Once you have reached the light and bubbly stage it is time to add
- the melted butter
- the 6 beaten eggs
- the 1 cup sugar
- the 1 Tablespoon salt
Stir to combine.
Add enough flour to make the dough come together. It should not be too sticky or too stiff. This could be up to 10 cups of additional flour.
YES this makes A LOT!
Place the dough in a large pot or bowl, cover and allow to rise in a warm place until double in size.
My shortcut for making Paska Bread.
The traditional recipe calls for a punch down and a second rise. If I start early in the day I do this. But if I start mid day I skip this second rise. If you DO the second rise your bread will be lighter and not as dense. But if you skip the second rise you will still have the rich, buttery flavor and the bread will be just as delicious.
It is up to you but don’t feel like you are missing out on too much if you decide to skip the second rise.
After the first (or second) rise, punch the dough down and work it into a smooth ball.
Add additional flour if needed.
Divide the dough into rounds, or braid it or shape it for small loaf pans. Make sure the dough is tight and well worked before you place it on a pan.
Cover and allow the dough to rise ONE MORE TIME! Yes, this is the FINAL rise.
Whisk together the egg with about a tablespoon of water to make an egg wash.
Brush the egg wash over the dough for a shiny finish when the bread comes out of the oven.
Score the dough if you are looking for a bit of decoration.
Bake at 400 F for 15 minutes.
Lower the temperature in the oven to 350 (but don’t remove the bread).
Cover the bread with foil to prevent over browning.
Bake an additional 25 minutes at 350.
Cool completely and store wrapped in plastic wrap or a zip top bag to keep it fresh.
Printable Recipe for Paska Bread: