Saturday, March 31, 2012

PASKA or EASTER BREAD


Making Paska was a first for me.  I did not really want to do it.
I'm not sure why.  It involved baking something unfamiliar when there were 
 other sweets that I was yearning for and knew just how they would taste.


I am glad that I had this little talk with myself which went something
like this .... 'just go ahead and do it!'


A yeast bread with real citrus just has to be delicious!
I had never peeled an orange and lemon with a vegetable peeler ..
it worked perfectly.


Tossing it all in the blender with the milk, sugar and eggs
seemed like an easy thing to do.  Except I had a little mishap ..
the blade was not quite tightened enough so I had a bit of clean up
to do.  But it went very well after that.


What a beautiful lemony orange colored dough!
This needs a bit more flour but I like to err on the side of
a little less rather than too much.


I love the dome shape of Paska baked in cans ... reminds me
of  mushrooms.  I did not have any empty cans on hand so I
decided to do some flower shapes.  Instead of slicing the
Paska bread, mine will be more like a pull-apart bun.
This picture was to flip and look sort of  like a cross but it did not
  turn for some reason but if you turn your head, you'll know what I mean.


Because I knew that I needed to sample immediately, I baked one
lone Paska roll.  I can testify that was soft and light and wonderful.


Some prefer to use a thin icing glaze for the top but I went
with a cream cheese icing instead.
The sprinkles look so much like Easter and Spring and new beginnings ..
the resurrection of leaves and flowers.
This recipe is from the 'Mennonite Girls Can Cook', cookbook.

PASKA or EASTER BREAD

2 tbsp. active yeast
1 tsp. sugar
1 cup warm water

Dissolve yeast and sugar in warm water until foamy.

1 medium orange and lemon

Peel orange and lemon with a vegetable peeler.  Remove and discard the
 pith of the orange and lemon.  Cut into slices and remove seeds.
Place into a blender jar and blend until smooth.

1¼ cup milk
½ cup butter
2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp. salt
7½ to 8 cups flour

Heat milk and butter in a small saucepan until butter is melted.  Add to the
blender and blend until frothy and light and only flecks of citrus are showing.
Add egg, sugar and salt and blend until very smooth, about a minute.

Combine yeast and citrus mixture in a large mixing bowl or dough mixer.
Add the flour 1 cup at a time until it forms a ball and the sides of the
bowl come clean.  Transfer to a lightly oiled bowl; turning once to oil
surface.  Cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, 1 to 1½ hours.
Punch down and let rest 10 minutes or up to 1 hour.
Prepare pans using cooking spray, parchment paper or shortening.
( I used one 9-inch, two 8-inch and four 6-inch round pans)
Make round, rectangle or braided loaves and let rise until double
in bulk, 1 to 1½ hours.  Bake in preheated 350° oven for 20 to 25
minutes depending on pan size.  Remove from pans and cool
on wire racks. Spread with a thin icing glaze or cream cheese icing
and decorate with sprinkles.






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