Thursday, April 21, 2011

Paska - Mennonite Easter Bread

As a kid, Easter meant paska.  One week of fluffy, lemony bread, slathered in icing and sprinkles, spread with....spread! Can't have paska without paska spread! (if you say "spread" too many times it starts sounding funny....)

For the record, Easter also is a time to recognize the amazing sacrifice Jesus made for us by taking our sins upon himself. He was perfect, sinless, unblemished. He chose to endure scorn, shame and pain. For me. For you. Can you imagine? God loves YOU so much that he gave up his only son to die on a cross FOR YOU. It blows my mind every time. If you want to know more I'd be so happy to share with you!

Back to the recipe! 

Paska - Mennonite Easter Bread
- makes 6 loaves

***disclaimer: this is a very "involved" recipe but sooooo worth the effort

1 cup  lukewarm water
2 Tbsp yeast
2 tsp  sugar

Combine in a small bowl and set aside.

2 cups milk
1 cup butter/shortning
2 cups sugar

Heat milk in microwave until just before boiling point.  Cut butter into pieces and melt into hot milk.  Add sugar and stir.  Place this mixture in your bread bowl.

10 egg yolks
5 egg whites (set aside)
Rind and juice of 1 lemon
1 tsp  salt

Add yolks, lemon and salt to milk mixture. Beat 5 egg whites and set aside. Put the other 5 in the fridge...for something else. I'm never sure what to do with them.

12 cups flour, separated

Add 6 cups flour and yeast mixture to bowl and mix well.  Fold in the 5 beaten egg whites.  Slowly add the remaining 6 cups of flour and knead well.  The dough will be fairly soft and you'll probably need to grease your hands while kneading. Cover and rise 45 min.  Punch down and rise again 45 min.  Punch down, form 6 loaves and place in greased bread pans.  Cover and rise 45 min.

Preheat oven to 350F.  Place a baking sheet with water on the bottom rack of oven and arrange loaves on top rack. Tent loaves with foil to prevent over-browning.  Bake for 30 minutes.  Loaves will not sound hollow like regular bread when down.  If necessary, slice one loaf down the middle to check. You don't want to dry this bread out!

When loaves are mostly cooled, ice with a regular butter/sugar/milk/vanilla icing. And don't forget the sprinkles!  We slice ours and eat it with paska spread. It's a little bit...different...but don't chicken out. It's sooooo gooood. Some families just eat it toasted with butter - no icing, no spread....but that's just boring!

Paska Spread

1 lb  DRY cottage cheese (one regular size tub)
1/2 cup   sugar
3 Tbsp   softened butter
2 hard boiled egg yolks
1 Tbsp  lemon juice
1 tsp    vanilla

Combine the cottage cheese, sugar, butter and yolks in a food processor.  Add lemon juice and vanilla while mixing. Enjoy!

Do you have something special that you make every Easter?

**EDIT: I'm linkin this great recipe up to Donna's Saturday Nite Special at Funky Junk Interiors

1 comment:

Gretchen said...

Hey Cammy! Thanks for stopping by my blog to say, "Hi!" I so appreciate the time you took to leave me a comment! :o) I'm definitely adding your blog to my "Follow" list; it looks so great! :o) Blessings, girl! (p.s. You've inspired me...I just may have to try making paska for my family for Easter this year...:o) )

Gretchen @ The Proverbs Thirty-HUH?! Woman