Slovak Paska

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Recipe photo
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Yield: 1 large loaf, 20 servings

Recipe photo

The symbolism of bread is commonly observed by Christian cultures throughout the world. During Easter, bread takes many decorative shapes and forms; one of the most beautiful is the egg- and butter-rich Paska, traditionally eaten in Eastern European countries.

Paska is often paired with "hrudka" (hur-UT-ka), a custard-like cheese; or a delicious sweetened cream cheese spread, Paska Spread. You might also enjoy thick slices of bread sandwiching kielbasa, or your leftover Easter ham.

If you have a bread machine, use its dough or manual setting to make the dough, then shape and bake the bread out of the machine for a stunning Easter table centerpiece.

Slovak Paska

star rating (17) rate this recipe »
Hands-on time:
Baking time:
Total time:
Yield: 1 large loaf, 20 servings
Published: 02/25/2013

Ingredients

Dough

Topping

Directions

1) To make the dough: Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients — by hand, mixer, or bread machine — to make a soft, smooth dough.

2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it's noticeably puffy.

3) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; divide it into two pieces, one twice as large as the other. Take the larger piece, roll into a ball, and place it into a well-greased 9" x 2" round pan.

4) Divide the other piece of dough into three equal pieces, and roll each out into a 20" strand; use the three strands to create one long braid.

5) Place the braid around the inside edge of the pan, or use it to form a cross over the top of the larger piece of dough.

6) Cover the loaf and let it rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350°F, with a rack in the center.

7) To make the topping: In a small bowl, beat the egg with the water. Brush the mixture gently over the top of the risen loaf, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.

8) Bake the bread for 35 to 45 minutes, or until it's a rich golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool before cutting.

Yield: 1 large bread, 20 servings.

Nutrition information

Serving Size: 1 slice Servings Per Batch: 20 servings Amount Per Serving: Calories: 247 Calories from Fat: 32 Total Fat: 4g Saturated Fat: 2g Trans Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 28mg Sodium: 301mg Total Carbohydrate: 45g Dietary Fiber: 2g Sugars: 2g Protein: 8g

* The nutrition information provided for this recipe is determined by the ESHA Genesis R&D software program. Substituting any ingredients may change the posted nutrition information.

Reviews

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  • star rating 04/22/2015
  • JoAnne from Allentown PA
  • Dear King Arthur FLour: I am writing to tell you how delighted I was to see this recipe. I am of SLovak/Polish descent, half of each. My mother made paska every year with a recipe of gigantic proportions. She made several round paska, some rectangular loaves, and buns in Easter designs, bunnies, rabbits, etc. The recipe she used came from a Slovak immigrant woman. This recipe was well over 100 years. The recipe uses the same ingredients, though different proportionally. She also had a paska recipe from our Slovak heritage built church that the church ladies used in baking paska and bread throughout the year for fund raising. Also a large recipe. I decided to try your recipe because it saved me all the reducing efforts. It was similar to our paska, though way too salty. I will try it again. It received good reviews at my Easter meal. The negative mails you received about this recipe, I would like to comment on. I checked every Slovak cookbook in my mother's collection to compare paskas. The ingredients were varied, some paskas were stated to only be baked round, with raisins, some without, with cheese or not, yellow or white in color, decorated or without decoration, rich flavor or not. The decoration on the right side picture with the large swiggle, is similar to what my mom did. Her swiggle was tighter and smaller. She put two, side by side. She made four tight knots and called them birds. I guess they "flew" and sang God's praises or announced the Resurrection. The birds were in the perimeter and equally spaced around. The knot decoration I saw recorded in a DVD* third episode, only larger and centered and opened. I always noted that my mom's decorations were not common around here. So when I saw the DVD and saw your picture, I was confirmed that somewhere else, were her decorations used. I asked my mother about differences I found over the years. She explained that these arose because people came from different areas, villages, communities of the old country, Product, materials, goods available would have been scarce or unavailable. The expertise or talent of the bakers would be different. So that resulted in many styles, traditions: not right or wrong, just different. *DVD - A WVIA Original Documentary FIlm THE EXTRAORDINARY JOURNEY - The Eastern Europeans of Northeastern Pennsylvania Three Episodes Copyright 2008 Greg Matosky, Thomas M. Curra, Kris Hendrickson, Paul Plishka I hope this adds some support to your efforts. I thank you heartily.
  • star rating 04/15/2015
  • Elena from Illinois
  • This recipe is easy and the bread looks and tastes great, but it's not a paska. Paska should be made with all milk, is buttery and very eggy, sweeter and flavored with lemon peel and vanilla, and usually has golden raisins in the dough. That being said the recipe proportions are good and the finished product with the braided cross is lovely. I made several loaves and gave them as gifts for Easter. The 9x2 pan works perfectly. It makes an impressive big loaf that slices nicely. 4 stars because it's delicious, minus one star because it's just not Paska.

    Elena, this recipe is our take on the Eastern European egg bread, which is traditionally made at Easter. We are glad to hear you found it tasty, but if you are looking for something more orthodox made with all milk, we certainly understand if you use a different recipe. Classic recipes that follow tradition are fun and unique; with that said, we hope you find the recipe you are looking for! Happy baking! Kye@KAF

  • star rating 04/07/2015
  • Ann from New York
  • Thank you for this recipe! I was looking for something that I grew up with that the ladies at my parents' church made each Easter. For several years, I bought paskas at the local Ukrainian stores but they were much lighter, airier, and sweeter, and they had raisins in them - something we never added. The recipe I have from a family friend was for multiple loaves so I never tried baking my own. Your recipe, essentially a scaled-down version of the one I have, makes a more dense loaf that is very similar to what we had each Easter. I will be baking this again next year!
  • star rating 04/05/2015
  • Harmony from Illinois
  • This is a great recipe for anyone who wants to try their hand at paska, as most involve making three loaves with a dozen eggs (as does my family's recipe). This produced a beautiful bread with a lovely texture. I believe Katya is referring to something we call Babka - which is another Easter tall bread baked in a can.
  • star rating 03/29/2015
  • Audrey from Boston
  • The dough is lovely to work with and the bread is beautiful, but this just isn't the paska I was hoping for ... My Ukrainian/Polish grandmother made a paska that was more like a brioche -- lighter, sweeter and eggier. Not the tall Russian bread with the icing...a loaf that looks like this but with a very different taste and texture. This just proves that there are many versions of a recipe like this.
  • star rating 03/23/2015
  • Phyllis from Columbus, Ohio
  • This is just like the recipe my Polish relatives have made for years except we use 2 packets of yeast and add raisins. A couple years ago I started using King Arthur bread flour. Wow! Tastes so much better. Great for ham sandwiches and makes a fabulous bread pudding.
  • 03/23/2015
  • thyra from KAF Community
  • A question on the pan size. The recipe calls for 9'x2' pan. However, the pan in the picture looks much larger.

    Camera angles do funny things, but it really is a 9x2 pan. Happy baking! Laurie@KAF

  • star rating 03/23/2015
  • Teresa from Mount Rainier, MD
  • We use a different (but very similar) recipe. There was a noticeable improvement when we made these three changes (not all at once; each change improved the bread): * Changed from all-purpose flour to bread flour * Swapped whole milk for baker's dry milk and increased the water to compensate * Replaced the butter with oil The resulting bread is more tender and stays fresh longer. On our paska, we have a braided crown circling the bread in addition to the braided cross as shown in your photo. We have it with ham, cirric (egg cheese, what you called hrudka), kielbasa, and hrin (beets and horseradish). We cook all day on Easter Saturday, then serve the meal cold on Easter Sunday.
  • star rating 03/23/2015
  • jdamianlapko from KAF Community
  • this "is" Slovak paska although I use more eggs. What Katya is describing is a more Russian style Paska (in the tall can with frosting and sprinkles). The Slovak and Ukrainian make this type of bread with a braided top frequently for Easter and other special occasions.
  • star rating 03/11/2015
  • Katya from Upstate NY
  • This is NOT real Paska. This is just a nice sweet bread, very nice, but not the traditional Paska (which actually means Easter) made by Eastern Europeans. The real thing is made in coffee or other metal cans and usually has a white glaze just on the top part and can contain raisins. Sometimes we sprinkle colored sprinkles on top, or cut those watermelon jelly slices into an XB design, signifying Xrystos Voskres - Christ Has Risen. I'm surprised the folks at King Arthur are so ignorant about such a popular baked item.

    Katya, thanks for sharing a bit of food history with the KAF recipe community. Perhaps this recipe would be a good contestant for our blog, which delves into the history of recipes and explores the different ways to make them. We are aware of the traditional preparation of this recipe, but we've adjusted it so it is more friendly and approachable to the home baker. We will certainly consider your suggestion of posting an orthodox version of Slovak Paska for those who are looking for something authentic. Thank you for your feedback and happy baking! --Kye@KAF

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