Paska is a traditional Easter bread prepared with lots of eggs, making it much richer than ordinary sweet breads. The beautifully braided top will earn you many compliments.
- 2 packages (1/4 ounce each) active dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon plus 1/3 cup sugar, divided
- 4 cups warm water (110° to 115°), divided
- 1 cup nonfat dry milk powder
- 13-1/2 to 14-1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
- 6 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 cup butter, melted
- 1 tablespoon salt
- EGG GLAZE:
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons water
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast and 1 teaspoon sugar in 1 cup warm water. Let stand for 5 minutes. Add remaining water. Beat in the milk powder and 5 cups flour until smooth. Cover and let rise in a warm place until bubbly, about 20 minutes. Add eggs, butter, salt and remaining sugar; mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 8-10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide in half and set one portion aside. Divide remaining portion in half; press each portion into a well-greased 10-in. springform pan. Divide reserved dough into six balls. Shape each ball into a 30-in. rope; make two braids of three ropes each. Place a braid around the edge of each pan, forming a circle. Trim ends of braids, reserving dough scraps. Pinch ends of braids to seal. Shape scraps into two long thin ropes; form into rosettes or crosses. Place one decoration on the center of each loaf. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
- In a small bowl, beat egg and water; brush over dough. Bake at 350° for 50-60 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pans to wire racks to cool. Yield: 2 loaves.
Originally published as Paska Easter Bread in Taste of Home's Holiday & Celebrations Cookbook Annual 2004, p169
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