My absolute favourite Easter bread is Oma’s Paska. Paska is a light sweet bread eaten during the Easter holidays that comes from Russia and the Ukraine. It’s sooo yummy and brings back so many memories for me. This recipe comes from my Oma, who emigrated from that area after WWII. Oma’s version is vanilla flavoured, and so much better than the overpowering lemon and raisin bread that you buy in the store.
Paska is traditionally a round bread which can be baked in panettone paper molds or metal coffee tins, but loaf pans work just fine.
Oma’s Paska Easter Bread Recipe
- 2 cups milk scalded and cooled
- 3/4 cup warm water
- 3 tsp sugar
- 3 Tbsp instant yeast
- 2 1/2 cups white flour
- 4 eggs
- 1/2 cup margarine melted
- 1 tsp salt
- 1 package instant vanilla pudding
- 1 1/2 cups white sugar
- 6 cups white flour
- 1 1 kg (2lb) bag icing sugar (confectioners sugar)
- 1/4 cup butter or margarine
- 1 tsp vanilla
- 1 can sprinkles
Pour the 2 cups of a milk in a saucepan and warm it on the stove. Bring it just to the point where it begins to bubble but do not let it boil or burn. Set aside to cool until it is slightly warm.
Put the warm milk, water, 3 teaspoons of sugar, yeast and 2 1/2 cups of flour in a large bowl. Beat until smooth. Cover and let rise until it is light and full of bubbles (approximately 15 min.) Set aside.
In a mixer (or large bowl with a wooden spoon) beat the eggs well on high speed. Gradually beat in the sugar. On low speed stir in the melted margarine, pudding and salt.
Add the risen yeast mixture.
Mix together on a slow speed until just combined.
Switch your mixer paddle to the dough hook.
On low speed add in the remaining 6 cups of flour. Let the mixer knead the dough for approximately 2 minutes.
If you are mixing by hand stir in as much of the flour as you can with the spoon, turn the dough out onto a floured surface and knead in the rest in by hand.
You want a soft but workable dough.
Lightly grease the inside of the largest bowl you own.
Turn the dough into the bowl and let rise until double in size.
Divide the risen dough into 8 equal parts.
Pat down and gently form into a ball. Work by tucking the edges of the ball under until you have a nice smooth round of dough.
Place into 8 greased loaf pans.
Let rise in a slightly warmed oven.
Bake at 300F for 20 minutes, then raise the temperature to 325F for 5 minutes
The bread should be light golden and soft on top!
Icing and Sprinkles!
Whip the butter and vanilla together until the butter is light and fluffy.
Mix in the icing sugar as much as possible.
Add in the milk a spoonful at a time until you get a thick but slow running icing glaze.
Spread liberally over the bread loaves.
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