Paska – How to bake the traditional russian easter bread
Since the beginning of my awareness of food, celebrations and family traditions, paska – russian easter bread – has always been there.
Every easter I couldn’t wait for my grandma and mother to finally bake this delicious easter bread. I was allowed to help decorate and nibble on the seductively sweet frosting.
If you want to float back in your childhood memories or want to try a new delicious recipe, then you have come to the right place!
Every spring, when easter approaches, I remember my childhood. Especially the easter breakfast with the family. The impatience of wanting to snack the cake the evening before. And then finally on Easter morning when the cake could be eaten. A dream of icing with sugar sprinkles and yeast dough! Cheeky as I am, I only ate the tip of my piece back then and insisted on having as much icing as possible on my piece.
Background & Tradition
In Ukrainian language па́ска (páska) is called Easter whilst in Russian it is spelt па́сха (páskha). As my roots are from Germany, Ukraine, Kazakhstan, Uzbekistan and somehow from Russia, we just made it simple and called the easter bread and easter paska.
The traditional Ukrainian paska–also known as kulich in Russia–is a sweet and fragrant Easter bread. This popular delicacy abounds in eggs and butter, and typically has a tall cylindrical shape with a rounded top.Tasteatlas
Outside Ukraine and Russia, this type of bread is also commonly consumed in Georgia, Bulgaria, Romania, Serbia, and Slovakia. Paska is usually taken to church on Easter morning, where it is blessed, and later shared at home among family members.Tasteatlas
In my family only my great-grandmother was religious. Yet she did not take part in church activities. Nonetheless, she read at least three times per day in the bible!
However, my whole family did not take part in any church activities and I for myself am not religious at all. But still my great- grandmother, my grandmother and my mother baked the easter bread almost every year.
Nevertheless, I like the idea of traditions and think that these can also be accommodated in a modern way of life.
The perfect Paska-Recipe
There are so many and really good recipes in the internet!
I will show you first our family recipes, which my mother and grandmother bake every year. Then, I will give you a recommendation for a really good recipe which I found while my research some years ago.
Our family recipe for russian easter bread
Paska (Kulich) – Russian Easter Bread
- Measuring cup & kitchen scales
- Electric whisk
- Mixing bowl
- Clean kitchen towel
- Clean tin cans
- Baking paper
- 250 ml Whole warm milk
- 14 g Dry yeast
- 700 g Wheat flour
- 200 g Fine sugar
- 4-5 Eggs
- 150 g Melted butter or margarine
- A pinch of salt
- 100 g Raisins
- 1 tsp Vanilla Essence or 2 tbsp Vanilla sugar
- 250 g Smetana (Fat: 14-20%) or sour cream
- 2 Egg-whites
- 100 g Caster sugar
- A pinch citron juice
- Colorful sugar sprinkles
Preparing the dough
- Mix the eggs, melted butter, warm milk and sour cream together. Add sugar and vanilla essence (or vanilla sugar) and stir well.
- Mix dry yeast with the flour.
- Add the yeast-flour to the egg-mixture and stir.
- Add the raisins to the dough and stir well.
- Cover the bowl with a cloth or saucepan lid and let the dough rise for about one hour.Once the dough reaches the lid, stir the dough and let it rise again.
- Prepare the tin cans. to do this, cut baking paper and line the inside of the cans with it. Let about 1/3 of the baking paper go beyond the can as the dough will rise while baking.
- Smear your hands with a little vegetable oil and take out a little dough to put in the can. You can also use two spoons for this.Cover the cans with a kitchen towel and let the dough rise for another 30-60 minutes.
- Preheat the oven to 160-180°C and bake for between 30-45 minutes.Depending on the oven, you have to adjust the temperature or cover the bread with aluminum foil to prevent the top from getting too dark.
- Carefully take out the baked bread and let it cool down.
Decorate the easter bread
- Beat the egg-whites stiff with an electric whisk.Add the sugar and a little lemon juice and beat it until it sticks to the spoon.
- Decorate it with icing and sprinkles & enjoy!
This year I made a lot of dough, as we have had family over and wanted to give some to our neighbors. So, I did not have enough tin cans and had to bake it in other forms…
Recommendations for the perfect fluffy paska
One stunning recipe is from Marina: Paska Easter Bread Recipe – Kulich. She added dried fruits and white chocolate in the dough, which is an amazing idea! Also her FAQ regarding the most common probles with the dough are helpful.
I wish you happy easter!
Until next time,