Ukrainian Easter Paska
Ukrainian Easter bread or known as paska is a richer version of plain white bread that is often decorated with religious symbols made of dough.
- Serves: 12 persons
- For the Dough:
- 1 ½cups milk
- ½cup plus 1/2 teaspoon sugar
- ½cup water (lukewarm)
- 1(0.25-ounce) package active dry yeast
- 7 ½cups all-purpose flour (divided)
- 3large eggs (room temperature; beaten)
- ⅓cup butter (melted)
- 1 ½teaspoons salt
- For the Egg Wash:
- 1large egg (room temperature)
- 2tablespoons water
Step 1Gather the ingredients.
Step 2In a heavy-bottomed saucepan, scald the milk and set aside to cool until lukewarm.
Step 3In a large bowl, dissolve 1/2 teaspoon sugar in the water and sprinkle the yeast over it. Mix and let stand for 10 minutes.
Step 4Add the lukewarm scalded milk and 2 1/2 cups of flour to the yeast mixture. Beat until smooth. Cover and let rise until light and bubbly.
Step 5Add eggs, the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter, salt, and 4 1/2 to 5 cups of the remaining flour to make a dough that is not too stiff and not too slack.
Step 6Knead until dough no longer sticks to the hand and is smooth and satiny (about 7 minutes in a stand mixer, longer by hand).
Step 7Place dough in a greased bowl, turn to grease both sides, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled.
Step 8Punch down , cover, and let rise again.
Step 9Reserve a third of the dough for decorating. Shape the rest into a round loaf and place in a 10- to 12-inch greased round pan.
Step 10Shape the reserved dough into decorations of choice—a cross, swirls, rosettes, braiding, etc.—and arrange on top of the dough.
Step 11Cover the pan with greased plastic wrap and let rise until almost doubled.
Step 12Heat oven to 400 F. Brush bread with 1 large egg beaten with 2 tablespoons water.
Step 13Bake 15 minutes. Reduce temperature to 350 F and bake an additional 40 minutes, or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 F. If necessary, cover the top of the bread with aluminum foil to prevent over-browning.
Step 14Remove from the oven and turn out onto a wire rack to cool completely.