How to Make Easter Paska Bread

Paska bread
Lchunt / Flickr / CC By 2.0
Ratings (29)
  • Total: 100 mins
  • Prep: 60 mins
  • Cook: 40 mins
  • Yield: 3 loaves (30 servings)
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
146 Calories
12g Fat
7g Carbs
3g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 3 loaves (30 servings)
Amount per serving
Calories 146
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 12g 15%
Saturated Fat 7g 33%
Cholesterol 86mg 29%
Sodium 234mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 7g 3%
Dietary Fiber 0g 2%
Protein 3g
Calcium 38mg 3%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for Slovak Easter bread or paska (PAH-skah) is made into round loaves decorated with religious symbols made of dough.

The dough used in this recipe also can be used to make paska peeps -- small, chick-shaped dinner rolls.

You also might enjoy looking at how a Slovak Christmas Eve dinner is celebrated.

Ingredients

  • 2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 12 ounces butter (3 sticks) 
  • 3 packages active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup warm water (no hotter than 110 F)
  • 3 large room-temperature eggs
  • 8 cups all-purpose flour (divided)
  • 1 tablespoon sugar
  • 1 cup milk (or 1 beaten egg yolk, to wash the dough)

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

  2. Grease three (7- x 3-inch) round bread pans and set aside.

  3. In a small saucepan, heat milk, 1/2 cup sugar, salt, and butter over low heat until butter melts and sugar dissolves. Cool to lukewarm (no hotter than 110 F) and set aside.

  4. Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon sugar in warm water placed in a mixing bowl or stand mixer bowl that has been warmed. Let proof for 5 minutes.

  5. Add eggs, reserved milk mixture, and 4 1/2 cups of the flour. With the dough hook attachment, mix on speed 2 for 1 minute.

  6. Continue mixing on speed 2, and add remaining flour 1/2 cup at a time and mix about 2 minutes or until dough clings to hook and cleans sides of the bowl.

  7. Continue mixing 2 minutes longer or until dough is smooth and elastic. It will be sticky to the touch.

  8. Place dough in greased bowl, turning to grease top. Cover and let rise in warm place about 1 to 2 hours or until doubled.

  9. Punch down dough and divide into thirds, reserving a small piece of dough from each to make decorations.

  10. Shape each third piece of dough into a round loaf in the prepared pans. Using reserved dough, decorate with a cross in center or braids around the edge.

  11. Cover and let rise in warm place 1 to 2 hours or until doubled.

  12. Heat oven to 350 F.

  13. Gently brush tops of risen dough with milk or beaten egg yolk.

  14. Bake 40 minutes or until golden brown and an instant-read thermometer registers 190 F.

  15. Remove from pans immediately and cool on wire rack.

  16. Serve during your Christmas Eve dinner and enjoy!

To Make Paska Peeps

  • After dough has risen the first time, portion out 1/8 cup dough for each peep. Let rest, covered, a few minutes.

  • Roll each portion into a 10-inch rope. Form a knot with a short end sticking out for the head and the long end of the tail. Position the knot so that it looks like wings sticking up and the head is in an upright position.

  • Tweak the head to shape a beak and embed cloves (cut off the stem end) or 1/6 of a raisin for the eyes. Place on greased cookie sheet. Flatten long end a bit and make 3 to 4 slashes on it, being careful NOT to cut completely through the dough, to give the appearance of tail feathers.

  • Cover and let rise for 20 minutes. Brush with milk or egg yolk and bake at 350 F for 15 minutes or until golden brown.