Friday, March 29, 2013

Basic Paska for Easter

After reading a Ukrainian folktale to my girls this morning, we got busy baking our Hot Cross Buns for Good Friday, Easter Doves, and Paska!  Jennifer recently posted her beautiful Paska recipe, but since I didn't have all the ingredients necessary, and I wasn't going to be able to make it back to the grocery store, I decided to adapt "Mary Urim's Paska" recipe from Romancing the Stove incorporating some of the decorating tips from Ukrainian Classic Kitchen.  I just love how pretty the Paska turned out, and it smells heavenly!

Basic Paska

  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 4 eggs, beaten and separated
  • 4 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 3 tablespoons oil
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 9 1/2 – 10 1/2 cups flour


In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in lukewarm water. Let stand for 10 minutes.

Meanwhile, scald the milk. Add the sugar, stirring with a whisk until the sugar has dissolved. Remove from heat, and let cool.

In another bowl, mix 3 eggs (saving one for the egg wash), butter, oil, and salt. Add the yeast mixture, and milk mixture, and whisk to combine.

Add 9 1/2 cups of flour to a stand mixer fitted with the dough hook. Gradually add the egg/milk/yeast mixture while mixing. Mix the dough for 10 minutes. Adding up to 1 to 1 1/2 cups of additional flour. The dough should pull away from the sides of the mixing bowl and not stick. If it is sticking, gradually add more flour. (Note: My stand mixer was not quite large enough for this recipe so I ended up kneading the dough by hand. If needing by hand, knead well, letting the dough rest a couple times between kneading to let the gluten work. Continue kneading until the dough no longer sticks to hands.)

Place the dough in a large bowl coated with oil, turning to cover all sides of the dough with oil. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk (about 1-2 hours).

After the dough has risen, take it out of the bowl, punch it down a little, and shape into loaves, reserving a little dough to create decorations. Place loaves into well oiled round baking dishes, filling only 1/3 full. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until once again doubled in bulk (about 30-45 minutes).

Note:  I had to be creative finding deep round baking dishes!  I ended up using an Oven-proof Batter Bowla white casserole we were given for our wedding, my new Round Covered Baker, and an old Pampered Chef Bread Crock

Meanwhile create decorations for the top of the paska.

Note: Adding decorations after the shaped Paska has risen prevents the decorations from rising unevenly.

To make a braided cross: Using 3 small pieces of dough, roll each piece into a rope, then braid the 3 pieces together. Repeat to make a second braid. Place one of the braids over the dough ball in the pan, tucking the sides under the ball. Place the second braid over the first in the form of a cross, again tucking the ends under the dough ball.


Additional decoration suggestions/designs can be found in Jen's post.


Preheat the oven to 350˚F. Make egg wash - beat 1 egg and 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the tops of the loaves with egg wash. Bake for 45 minutes or until the bread is golden.

 Let cool in the pan.

Remove from pan, place on wire rack and cool completely.

NOTE:  This recipe will create 2-3 Paska, depending on pan size.  I used the leftover dough from our Easter Doves to create a 4th small Paska.  

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  1. Wow, Jessica, these turned out so beautiful!

  2. You are amazing! I think we need to switch the titles on our recipes. Mine looks basic and you're looks like the graduate level. Love the braided tops! I was rushed this year and didn't have time to make mine look too fancy.