Paska or Kulich is a traditional Easter bread that is very popular in Eastern European countries.
Every country has its spin on this classic. Today I will show a traditional Ukrainian recipe my family has made for years, never letting us down.
Paska (Ukrainian Easter Bread)
This year Orthodox Easter is the same day as Catholic Easter. Also, this year, my daughter turns four on Easter. So, as you can imagine, we have quite a busy weekend coming up.
Since I'm Ukrainian, we always celebrate Easter the traditional way. We color eggs, prepare Buzhenina (Roasted Pork Tenderloin), and make Paska Easter Bread. We usually attend church on Sunday to bless our Easter basket, followed by a festive Easter brunch.
My mom was usually responsible for the Easter menu when I lived in Ukraine. I rarely was involved. When I moved to the US and started my own family, I wanted to stick to the traditions and started making my own Easter bread.
Paska is considered a festive Easter bread. Most of the time, it's sweet, glazed with sugar or sugar and an egg white mixture. Many people also add raisins or dried fruits to the bread.
In Western parts of Ukraine, locals love making Paska plain with just a bit of sugar and eating it with kielbasa. My husband prefers it that way.
My family loves Paska on the sweeter side with raisins, sugar glaze, and sprinkles. It's delicious, flavorful, very fluffy, and moist. We often have Paska with tea instead of dessert.
Today, I will show you a step-by-step recipe for this traditional Eastern European Easter bread, so you can make it at home and surprise your family with a new and very delicious Easter treat.
A few words on the equipment. Traditionally, Paska is baked in round and tall molds. Here you have several options. First - you can buy disposable paper molds.
These are also available in stores like Sur La Table. Walmart might have them as well. When we lived in Chicago, we used to buy these several times.
Another option is to buy reusable metal molds. That's what we are using. We bought them on Amazon in two sizes: 4 ¾-Inch and 4 - Inches.
The third option is to look for tall ovenproof metal round ware that you might have around the house.
For our 3rd Paska, we used a stainless steel kitchen utensils storage container. It's quite tall with thick walls. We lined it with parchment paper, and boom; Paska mold was ready to be filled with dough.
Start with making "opara" - yeast mixture. In a medium bowl, combine yeast, sugar, flour, and warm milk. Whisk, cover with plastic wrap, and leave it to rise in a warm place for about 30-40 minutes.
In a large bowl of a food processor, sift flour. Add yeast mixture, salt and whisked egg yolks.
Transfer the bowl to a food processor with an attached dough hook, and knead the dough until small bubbles appear, about 5 minutes.
Then, add melted butter, and lemon zest and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and stretchy about 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from a food processor.
Sprinkle raisins with about ½ tablespoon of flour, stir, and incorporate raisins into a dough. Mix just until combined.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a dry kitchen towel and place it in a warm place. The dough should increase two times in size. It will take approximately 40-50 minutes, depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
Divide the dough between 3 parchment-lined molds and leave it rising until it is almost full. Bake at 360 F for 45 minutes. When Paska's are ready, brush them with a glaze and top with sprinkles.
How To Freeze Paska
Paska freezes exceptionally well and will keep for several months in a freezer.
After you brush Paska with a glaze, let it completely dry out. Then, tightly wrap it in plastic wrap and place it in a freezer.
To thaw, simply unwrap Paska and let it defrost at room temperature or in a microwave.
Let me know in the comments below if you have tried Paska before. What are some of your family's Easter traditions?
For sugar glaze
- 6 tablespoons water
- 1 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon powdered gelatin
- In a medium bowl combine yeast, sugar, 3 tablespoons of flour and warm milk. Whisk, cover with a plastic wrap and leave it to rise in a warm place for about 30-40 minutes.
- In a large bowl of a food processor, sift flour. Remove 3 tablespoons from it. Add yeast mixture, salt and whisked egg yolks.
- Transfer the bowl to a food processor with an attached dough hook and knead the dough until small bubbles start to appear, about 5 minutes. Then, add melted butter, lemon zest and continue kneading until the dough is smooth and stretchy, about 10 minutes. Remove the bowl from a food processor and stir raisins into a dough. Mix just until combined.
- Cover the bowl with a plastic wrap and dry kitchen towel and place it in a warm place. The dough should increase 2 times in size. It will take approximately 40-50 minutes depending on the temperature in your kitchen.
- Divide the dough between 3 parchment lined molds and leave it to rise until molds are full. Bake at 360 F for 45 minutes. When Paska's are ready, carefully remove them from a mold and lay them on their side to cool.
- Brush them with a sugar glaze and top with sprinkles.
For sugar glaze
- In a small bowl, dissolve 1 teaspoon of gelatin with 2 tablespoons of cold water. Leave it for 5 minutes.
- In a small sauce pan, add sugar and the remaining 4 tablespoons of water. Heat on a medium heat until sugar dissolves.
- Off the heat, add gelatin and whisk until gelatin is fully dissolved.
- Using an electric mixer, beat the gelatin and sugar mixture until completely white, about 2-3 minutes.
- Let the glaze cool slightly and using a pastry brush cover the top of Paska with a glaze.
- Top with sprinkles.
- Enjoy on Easter Sunday!
If you make this recipe, don't forget to snap a picture and post it on Instagram with a hashtag #lavenderandmacarons. I'd love to see your creations.
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