Author Topic: UKRAINIAN EASTER PASKA (with photo) & Hints For Making A Perfect Paska  (Read 9866 times)

Olga Drozd

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Ukrainian Easter Paska

Makes 3 or 4 Paska

Pride is taken in the ornamentation that decorates the top of the Paska, such as crosses, twists, rosettes, pine cones.

1/2 cup warm water
1 1/2 tablespoons yeast
1 teaspoon sugar

Combine until yeast is dissolved, 10 minutes.

6 eggs, beaten
1/2 cup white sugar
1/2 cup butter
1/2 cup oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups scalded milk (cool to lukewarm)
10-11 cups flour


Combine the softened yeast with beaten eggs, add sugar, butter, oil, salt, and milk.

Mix in the flour and knead until smooth and elastic. Cover, let rise in a warm place until double in bulk.

Punch down and let rise again.

Take dough, make a round base 1 inch thick, and cover the bottom of a round 9 inch greased pan.

Take 2 equal-sized pieces of dough, roll each to 36 inches in length.

Place side by side and starting from center, entwine each other, do the other half in the same manner. Place the entwined length on the base, in a circle along the edge of the pan.

Roll 4 equal pieces of dough each to 10 inches lengths, entwine 2 lengths on the base to cross each other at the center, curl each end.

Let rise to almost double in bulk.

Be careful not to let the paska rise too long, as the ornaments will lose their definition. Brush lightly with beaten egg.

Bake 400 degrees F for 15 minutes then lower temperature to 350 degrees and bake 45 minutes or until done. If Paska gets to brown cover with foil.

Remove the loaves from the pans and allow them to cool.
« Last Edit: April 12, 2012, 08:14:42 AM by Olga Drozd »

Olga Drozd

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Hints For Making A Perfect Paska and Beautiful Babka
« Reply #1 on: March 01, 2009, 06:43:35 PM »
Hints For Making A Perfect Paska and Beautiful Babka

Do not substitute ingredients in a proven recipe.  Replacing egg yolks with whole eggs, butter with margarine, shortening, or oil, or milk with water (or water with milk) will completely change the results.  Trust the experience of those who developed a recipe if you want the same end product.  After trying a recipe or if you an experienced cook, you may try experimenting with ingredients; the results will be your own, though, and might not be the same as the original.

For the best results in making a Paska, Babka, or any other type of yeast bread, kneading adequately is the most important thing to remember to do. To knead, place the dough on a floured board, fold over and push together with a rocking hand motion.  Repeat this procedure, rotating the dough clockwise each time, until the dough is smooth throughout and feels elastic. Dough that is properly kneaded will pull easily away from the hand and will not stick.  I also like to throw the dough down about 50 times on the counter. In appearance, it will look smooth, satiny, and have a slightly blistered appearance (rather than looking like a heavy lump of dough, you will notice little air pockets, or “blisters”, under the surface); do not quit kneading until you are sure you have done enough.  It is all right (and sometimes suggested) to let the dough (and the cook!) rest for a while when kneading; just cover the dough with a towel or plastic wrap so it won’t dry out.

Kneading develops the gluten in the flour. The gluten is what makes the dough form thin elastic sheets which can trap the gas formed by the yeast. Dough that has a lot of gluten will be light in texture as the elastic dough will trap the gas formed by the yeast; dough that has not been kneaded enough and therefore does not have enough gluten, will be heavy and will not raise properly; the gas from the yeast will escape rather than being trapped.  If you find your dough is not rising well and think you may not have kneaded it enough, you may remove it from its bowl and knead it more, then return it to its warm place to rise once again.

The use of an egg yolk wash (one egg yolks well beaten with a little water) will give the shiniest glaze and also will add a golden color to the bread top.  Apply carefully to the top with a pastry brush or a cook’s feather (as they did in the old days).

Bread that is baked thoroughly will sound hollow when gently thumped on the bottom.  If after you have removed your loaves from the oven, you find they do not test done, you can return them to the oven to continue baking.  (If the tops are browned already, remember to cover them with foil or brown paper.)

For the best shaping of loaves, many cooks suggest forming the dough into a rectangle, rolling it firmly, then pulling the two ends underneath, forming a rounded loaf.  Care must be taken, however, to not form any air pockets when using this method or you will have big holes in the centers of the loaves.

If your bread is browning too fast or too darkly, cover the tops of the loaves with aluminum foil or heavy brown paper (cut from grocery bags).  Some ovens heat higher than the dial indicates; you may want to test your temperature with an oven thermometer, or you may have better results in your oven if you lower the temperature by 25 or even 50 degrees; you might have to lengthen the baking time to make sure the bread is cooked; be sure to test breads for doneness if you have to change times or temperatures from the recipe.  Breads that have been brushed with an egg wash before baking sometimes will brown too quickly; either cover with foil or heavy brown paper or parchment paper, or next time do not brush with the glaze until the last 5 minutes of cooking time.  Brushing with egg wash near the end of baking time instead of the beginning will also avoid cracking which shows unglazed bread beneath, especially where ornaments were added.

HINTS ON DECORATING PASKA:

Simple decorations can be made from the same dough as the loaf.  If fancier decorations are desired, additional flour should be kneaded into the portion reserved for making the ornaments.

The amount of dough to reserve for decorations depends on how much will be done with it.  A piece half the size of the loaf will usually be about right. If very little decorations are planned, a portion as little as ¼ the size of a loaf will be adequate. Loaves that are decorated by forming a base then placing the decorations on top which then rise together will use approximately 1/3 for the base with the remaining 2/3 being used for making elaborate ornaments.

The easiest decoration to make on a Paska is the simple cross.  Reserve a portion of dough and make two long snakes (length should reach from one side of shaped loaf, over the top, and to the other side of the loaf, reaching slightly under the loaf).  Form a cross on top of the shaped loaf, pulling the ends of the strips underneath the loaf, then carefully set to rise in a warm place.  When the loaf rises, it will not displace the cross because the ends are held underneath.  A variation of this method would use two braided strips to form the cross.

If decorations are being made that will set on top of the loaf, they are usually best added after the loaf has risen.  The dough reserved for the ornaments would have additional flour kneaded in, the ornaments are formed, then they are placed on top of the loaf.  Some cooks attach the ornaments to the top with a little beaten egg white (just under where the ornaments will be placed).  Others suggest the risen loaf be gently slashed (not very deeply, and this must be done very carefully to avoid deflating the loaf), then placing the ornaments into the slashed area so that they can stick to the dough easier.  Still other cooks find that adding the ornaments when the loaves are about half risen allows enough time for the ornaments to “stick” but not to rise out of shape.

Ornaments that rise with the loaf can be thicker if they will become part of the loaf.  Ornaments that are basically added to the top would usually be flatter, unless the thickness is part of the ornament (for example, rosettes, would stick up higher than a braid or leaves).
« Last Edit: November 02, 2011, 10:33:59 PM by slavko »