I did it! I finally did it, and it worked too, which was the bonus! I've been wanting to make Paska for years now. I've gone three years without, I believe, which is more than most Mennonites (of which I am) would wish on their worst enemies. I usually ruin the first attempt of anything I make, for some reason, so I was extremely pleased with these results. And surprised at how simple it really is to make.
Ok, no one ever understands me when I talk about Paska, thinking I'm saying pasTa. This is a traditional Mennonite Easter bread. It's a sweet bread, and boy oh boy do us Menno's know how to do it right. I'm not too sure how the icing and sprinkles are tradition, but they're here to stay nonetheless, and I have NEVER had a piece of Paska without such. Though I know of a few people who like to toast it, and spread on some butter. But if I'm eating Paska, I'm doing it the right way. Icing all over the piece, not just spread ontop of the loaf, and sprinkles galore.
I was very impressed with this recipe, and I am so glad I found it, since all the Paska I have ever known was made in bulk quantities, and had a dozen or so eggs! A household of two, living near in-laws who are not Mennonite, and who I wasn't sure if they would appreciate it, I was glad to find a 4-5 loaf recipe. (PS. they DID appreciate it, so that was good!). I am not a very confident baker, and was quite scared to try such a big undertaking, but I was surprised at how simple the recipe really is.
Yeast recipes don't have to be scary. In my experience (I make homemade pizza dough all the time, and every so often pastries and danishes) dough is very forgiving. I have not ruined a yeast recipe yet, and I only just started baking with yeast about a year ago, or less. I have never attempted anything to this scale either. The recipe made 4 large loaves. I used my Kitchenaid with the dough hook, and then kneaded the last cup of flour in by hand. I then split the dough in two, since I didn't have large enough bowls to let it all rise together. And loaf shaping is something I have no clue about, but winging it seemed to work ok too :)
I hope some of you (sisters!) will take the plunge too, and get baking Paska! It was SO worth it.
Saturday, April 4, 2009