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Paska, also known as Pascha or Ukrainian Easter Bread, is a sweet, rich bread with a long history of being a staple in Ukrainian households during Easter. The bread is typically baked in a large round dish and adorned with various religious symbols, crosses, flowers, and braids.

The tradition of baking Paska during Easter dates back to ancient times when the Eastern Slavs practiced paganism. Back then, bread was considered a sacred object of worship, and it was customary to bake loaves of bread with symbolic markings to commemorate various events. Over time, the baking of Paska became an integral part of the Orthodox Christian celebration of Easter in Ukraine.

Ukrainian Easter Bread Ingredients:

  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 tablespoon granular yeast (1 package)
  • 3 cups scalded milk, lukewarm
  • 5 cups flour
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 2/3 cup melted butter
  • 1 tablespoon salt
  • 9 to 10 cups sifted flour
  • 1 egg
Prep time
20 min
Cook time
55 min
Raise time
60 min
Difficulty of cooking
12 servings

8 Easy Steps To Make Ukrainian Easter Dough

Paska is made with a combination of eggs, sugar, milk, butter, and yeast, which gives it its rich, buttery taste and moist, soft texture. The bread is usually shaped into a round, dome-like shape and is often topped with an intricately braided design.

Although this round-shaped Easter bread is not sweet, it’s richer than ordinary bread. The top is decorated by dough ornamentation as an ornate cross.

Dissolve Sugar and Sprinkle Yiest

To make the dough for Ukrainian Easter Bread, dissolve the sugar in lukewarm water and sprinkle the yeast over it. Allow it to sit for 10 minutes.

Let Batter Raise

Cover the batter and let it rise in a warm place until it becomes light and bubbly.

Combine Yiest and Lukewarm Milk

Then, combine the softened yeast with lukewarm milk and 5 cups of flour. Beat the mixture well until it is smooth.

Devide Dough in 3 Parts

Next, divide the dough into 3 parts. Keep one part aside, and shape the remaining two parts into round balls.

Place the round balls in greased, round pans, like a 9-inch springform pan. Cover the pans with towels and let the dough rise again in a warm place until it reaches the top of the pans.

Form Dough Shapes

Take two equal pieces of dough and roll each with your fingers to form a 36-inch length. Place the two lengths side by side. Refer to the diagram below to see how to entwine the two lengths. The straight red line in the center indicates the midpoint of the dough lengths. Start from the center and entwine each length around the other, making sure to straighten the dough as you go to avoid a deformed twist (as indicated by the red arrows below). Repeat the process with the other half of the dough.

Make Decorations

To create the next layer of the bread, first place the previously entwined dough in a circular shape around the edge of the base (as indicated by the orange arrow in the diagram). Next, take four equal pieces of dough and roll them into 12-14 inch lengths. Take two of these lengths and entwine them as described earlier, and then do the same with the other two lengths. Place one of the entwined lengths on the base (indicated by the purple arrow) and place the other entwined length (indicated by the blue arrow) at a 90° angle to it. Allow the bread to rise until it has doubled in size.

This image shows a traditional Ukrainian Easter bread, known as "paska," decorated with colorful, intricately woven designs made of dyed eggshells. The bread is a sweet, dense, and rich yeast bread that is typically made during the Easter season in Ukraine. The image highlights the cultural significance of Easter traditions in Ukraine, including the use of vibrant colors and intricate designs.

Final Steps

To make the bread shiny, beat an egg and mix it with 2 tablespoons of water. Brush the mixture over the top of each loaf. Bake the loaves in a preheated oven at 400°F for about 15 minutes. Then, reduce the heat to 350°F and bake for another 40 minutes or until the bread is fully cooked. You can check if it’s done by tapping it with your fingertips; if it makes a dull “thump” sound, it’s ready. Take the loaves out of the pans and let them cool before serving.

Makes 2 large loaves.

Author Vitaly Magidov

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