Saturday, April 4, 2015

Simple Suggestion #228... Bake some Easter bread

Julia and I are quite proud of ourselves. We took our lovely Ukrainian neighbour's recipe, and made our first ever paska -- and it turned out better than I would have imagined. It's not as difficult as I expected, and we had fun decorating them. See how pretty?

In case you want to try it, here's how we did it:

Olga's Paska

2 c lukewarm water
2 tbsp sugar
3 tbsp active dry yeast

Mix water, sugar and yeast. Let stand about 10 minutes.

2 c scalded milk
6 whole eggs and 6 egg yolks
1 c sugar (or a bit less)
1/2 c margarine or butter, melted
1/2 c oil
1 tbsp slat
1 tsp lemon flavouring (optional)
16-18c flour (I found 16 total to be enough)

Add sugar, salt and butter to scalded milk and stir. Mix in oil, and flavouring (if using -- I didn't have any). Beat eggs until light. Add to the milk mixture. Add 4 c flour and beat well. Add the yeast and mix. Add 10-12 c flour and knead until smooth and satiny (it took me about 15 minutes). Add more flour as necessary if the dough is sticky.

Put dough in a large bowl, cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down and let riase again until doubled.

Shape dough into round loaves (I made four in 8 inch greased cake pans). Use a bit of the dough for decoration -- braids, twists, ropes, rosettes, etc. (It helps to have a bit of water on hand for manipulating the dough when it comes to rolling it out for braids if the dough isn't sticky).

Flatten the bottom of the decorative bits and moisten slightly before placing them on the loaves. Bake in a moderate oven (350 F) for 1/2  hour. Reduce the heat to 300F and bake until bread is golden and almost done. Brush bread with beaten glaze (1 beaten egg, 3 tbsp. water and 1 tsp sugar) and bake for another 10 minutes. If the bread is darkening too quickly, cover with moistened brown paper or a bit of tinfoil. (I couldn't figure out how to do this in my convection oven without it blowing around, so one of them got a bit darker than the others...)

See the Easter Lily?
Didn't Julia do a great job decorating this one with flowers? Now I just need to get a better grasp on bread baking in a convection oven so that things come out evenly baked. It was an enjoyable activity, and we can't wait to taste our creations (and give a few away) tomorrow!

Happy Easter, everyone!

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