I grew up in a community that had a strong Mennonite/German population, many of whom immigrated from Eastern Europe. A staple traditional recipe in those homes at Easter time is Paska, which is a sweet bread.
My childhood best friend’s mom, made a loaf of Paska just for me each year. When we graduated from high school, a family friend took over when she found out how much I loved it. Then when I got married, my sister-in-law made it for me. And then we moved from Canada to the U.S. and my supply chain of Paska….stopped!
Over those years, when my parents came to visit during the Easter season, my mom would bring me a loaf that a friend of hers made, or that she picked up at a bakery. Sometimes we’d make the trip to Canada over Easter and I’d get my fix. But those in between years, at Easter (especially Easter morning!) I’d lament over my plate that held no Paska.
Enough was Enough! I’d have to learn how to make it myself. So I asked for recipes, which reminded me why I always relied on someone else to provide it to me, it’s a lot of work! There had to be an easier way, and I have a bread machine….
A basic Paska recipe is pretty much the same no matter who or how you make it. Milk, Eggs, Butter, Flour, Yeast – but then there are a variety of ways to bake it, much of it depending on the heritage of the sub-culture it comes from.
Some Paska is made with golden raisins included and then a simple egg wash is put on it before baking. Others are made with the basic recipe, and then topped with a sweet cream cheese frosting and sprinkles.
It can be baked in a can to form a muffin looking loaf, a bread loaf pan, a cake pan – you name it, I’ve seen it 🙂
Me, I like mine sans raisins (I love raisins usually, but not in my Paska!), I made the dough in the bread machine, and then baked it in the oven in a 9″ cake pan, shaped as much as I could get it to look like an egg. Then I topped it with a sweet cream cheese frosting (remember I’m all about easy, so it is a tub of store bought frosting) – and I crushed up some Hershey’s Candy Coated Milk Chocolate Eggs to sprinkle a little pattern on it!
Ready to make some Paska, the easy way?! Here we go:
Paska – A Traditional Sweet Easter Bread
Makes one 2 lb. loaf
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter
2 eggs, beaten
2 tablespoons sugar
1 1/2 teaspoon salt
3 cups flour
1 1/8 teaspoons yeast
1 tub of prepared cream cheese frosting
candy or sprinkles for garnish
Warm the milk, and add the butter. Put it into the bread machine pan. Follow that with the eggs, sugar, salt, flour and yeast, and level the ingredients to the edges of the pan. Set your bread machine on the dough cycle.
When the cycle is finished, take out the dough and knead it for about 2 minutes on a floured surface. Place in a greased pan of your choice, cover and let it continue to rise for about 30 minutes. Preheat your oven to 325 at this time. If you want to egg wash your bread do it just before placing it in the oven. Bake for 40 minutes.
Place pan on a rack for five minutes, then take the bread out and place back on the rack and cool completely.
Ice the bread with the cream cheese frosting and decorate with sprinkles or candy.
Be sure to visit the Bunny Trail at CelebratewithHersheys.com, for recipes, crafts, ideas and more tips and tricks to get you through the Easter season.
What kind of Easter Traditions does your family have?
Tammy Litke received a thank you gift from Hershey’s for contributing to the Bunny Trail. Any opinions reflected in the post are her own.