I was so excited to make Paska with my mom, a slightly sweet dense Ukrainian bread traditionally served at Easter. It’s a recipe well worth the extra effort, and is as beautiful as it is delicious.
What is Paska?
Ukrainian Easter bread or paska (which literally means ‘Easter’) is a slightly sweet egg bread! It is similar to Babka, but flatter. We had a big debate over icing our Paska, but it was pretty short-lived. Turns out icing it is the way to go (I’m not an icing kinda gal, hence no icing here – maybe next year!). It is showy, satisfying to make and very nostalgic for me.
How To Make Paska
Making Paska is similar to making a typical white bread, with a few added steps and ingredients. Eggs and milk add richness, and extra sugar adds sweetness. Here are the basic steps:
- Scald the milk. Bring the milk to a simmer (83°C to be exact) and let it cool. This denatures the whey protein in the milk, and helps the yeast do its’ best work.
- Make a sponge. A basic sponge, a bubbled mixture of flour, water and yeast.
- Make the dough. Knead in the remaining ingredients until smooth. The dough should be soft and stretchy: don’t add too much flour! Let the dough rise until doubled.
- Form the Paska loaves. Get creative and braid or twist the dough ropes!
- Brush with an egg wash. Once risen again, brush with an egg wash and bake until golden.
How to Store Paska
Baked Paska can be stored in an airtight container or resealable bag for up to 3 days or stored in the freezer for up to 1 month.
Icing Recipe for Paska
If you choose to ice your Paska, here is a simple recipe. Stir together 1 1/2 cups sifted icing sugar plus the zest and juice of 1 lemon (for a more traditional glaze skip the lemon zest and juice and use milk instead). Spread over the cooled Paska and top with sprinkles if desired.
Easter Baking Recipes
If you are on the hunt for more Easter baking recipes you have come to the right place. Not only are these recipes delicious but they are so stunning to look at! Perfect to impress this season.
See my entire Easter Menu here!
If you make this recipe, be sure to tag me on Instagram with the hashtag #fraicheliving or leave a comment/rating below. I would love to know how you liked it!
Paska (Ukrainian Easter Bread)
Paska (Ukrainian Easter Bread)
Paska is a slightly sweet dense Ukrainian bread traditionally served at Easter. Note that this recipe makes enough for 2 loaves, but can be easily divided in half should you wish to only make one.
- 3 cups 2% milk
- 1 cup warm water*
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- 2 tablespoons active dry yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 6 eggs beaten
- 1 cup sugar
- 10-11 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 2 tablespoons water
Scald the Milk
To scald the milk, place the milk in a medium saucepan and heat over low heat to 83 C. Remove from the heat and set aside to cool to room temperature (this is important – too hot and it will kill the yeast).
Make the Dough
In a small bowl, stir together the water and 2 tablespoons of sugar. Sprinkle the yeast on top and let it sit for 10 minutes, until foamy.
In a large bowl add the cooled milk, yeast mixture, eggs and sugar. Stir together to combine. Stir in 5 cups of flour to combine and continue adding flour 1 cup at a time until it is too difficult to stir. Transfer the dough onto a well-floured work surface and knead the dough, adding more flour as needed, to get a smooth, elastic dough, around 10 minutes.
Divide the dough in 1/2, form into a round ball, place each ball of dough into a large oiled bowl, and cover each bowl with a clean dish towel. Let the dough rise until doubled, around 2 1/2 hours.
Assemble the Paska
Grease two 8-inch tall round baking pans with butter. Deflate the dough with your hands, transfer the balls of dough to a well-floured work surface, and divide each ball again in 1/2.
Flatten two of the balls of dough to fit the pans, placing each round in the bottom of the pans and pressing to the edges.
Divide the remaining balls of dough again in 1/2: you should have 4 balls of dough. Divide each of these balls into 3 smaller balls to braid: you should now have 12 small balls of dough. On a lightly floured work surface using the palms of your hands, roll each of the balls of dough into a roughly 1/2-inch rope about 30 inches long each. Taking 3 ropes, braid into a long braid. Repeat with the remaining balls of dough, braiding 3 ropes at a time. You will have 4 braids.
Taking one braid at a time, wrap the first braid around the inside edge of the pan so that the ends meet (stretch the braid out if needed). Take another braid and wrap it inside the first braid to fit in the middle. Repeat with the other Paska.
Cover each pan with a clean dish towel and set aside to rise until doubled.
Place the oven rack to the bottom 1/3 of the oven and preheat the oven to 350°F.
Add the Egg Wash
In a small bowl, whisk together the egg and water to combine. Using a pastry brush, brush the outside of each loaf with the egg wash.
Bake the Bread
Once doubled, bake the loaves for 50-60 minutes, until golden brown.
Transfer the loaves to a cooling rack and once cool, store each in large airtight bags for up to 3 days or in the freezer for up to 2 weeks.
*technically around 40°C