Vera baked her traditional Paska for Easter. Paska (aka Babka or Kulich) is very common in eastern European countries. Vera’s family is from Ukraine so she makes the Paska in the Ukrainian fashion; tall and round. There are many variations to Paska all are sweet, all are good; here is Vera’s version.
2 cups sugar
1 1/2 cups milk
1 cup butter or margarine
3 (1/2 oz.) active dry yeast envelopes (check expiration date, the fresher the better)
1 tbsp. all-purpose flour
1 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup warm water (105 – 115 deg.)
6 large eggs, lightly beaten and room temperature.
9 cups all-purpose flour
- Combine sugar, milk and butter in a large saucepan and cook over medium heat until the butter melts. Let stand and cool until the mixture reaches between 105-115 deg. F.
Tip: You can remove from heat before all of the butter melts to shorten the cool down period.
Tip: Watch temperature closely since yeast will not rise well if liquid is too cool and will die if too hot.
- For the sponge combine yeast and the next three ingredients in a large bowl and let stand for 5 minutes (Vera loves to watch the sponge form). Stir in 6 lightly beaten eggs. Gradually add 9 cups of flour alternately with the warm milk mixture, continuously stirring. (Again be mindful of the temperature of the milk mixture.) Stirring the dough can be a chore so it is good to have relief near by.
- Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 8 min. Place dough in a well-greased bowl turning to grease the top. Or you can use a spray oil like PAM.
- Cover and let rise in a warm (85 deg.) place free of drafts for 2 hours.
- After the dough has risen punch the dough down. One or two punches are enough, this is not a heavy weight championship bout. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide into four pieces. Put each piece in a medium panettone paper mold. Place in draft free, warm location for another 2 hours.
Tip: Instead of the paper molds you can use 2 lb coffee tins.
- Pre-heat oven to 350 deg.
- Place bread on the center of the oven and bake 30-35 min. After about 20 min. you may want to turn the bread if you see that they are browning unevenly. Also you may want to cover tops with aluminum foil if they are browning too much on top.
- Remove from oven and let cool thoroughly on a cooling rack. Remove paper molds.
- Ice them with a powdered sugar/milk mixture (thick) and add sprinkles.
Tip: You can ice only what you need right away and freeze the rest of the bread for later use.
I love this sweet bread with our home made kielbasa and potato salad.