Ukrainian Easter Paska

READY IN: 1hr 30mins
YIELD: 2 paska's




  • In a medium bowl combine yeast, 1 tablespoon flour, 1 tablespoon sugar, and 1/4 warm water (100° to 110°).
  • Mix until smooth.
  • Set bowl aside until mixture is bubbly, 10 to 15 minutes.
  • FOR THE SPONGE: Add 4 cups of the flour and milk to yeast mixture.
  • With a wooden spoon, mix until well combined.
  • Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise at room temperature until double in size, about 30 minutes.
  • In the bowl of a heavy-duty electric mixer fitted with the whisk attachment, beat 3 eggs, 8 egg yolks, and sugar until light and pale yellow, about 5 minutes.
  • Add the SPONGE mixture.
  • Add salt, vanilla extract, lemon zest, orange zest, rum or brandy, melted butter, and vegetable oil.
  • Whisk on medium speed until combined.
  • Remove whisk attachment from machine, and fit with the dough hook attachment.
  • With mixer on medium-low speed, gradually add enough of the remaining 8 cups flour until dough comes away from side of bowl.
  • Transfer dough to a clean work surface.
  • Knead dough, adding any remaining flour if necessary, until smooth and elastic, 5 to 10 minutes.
  • Transfer dough to a large bowl, and cover with a cloth or plastic wrap.
  • Place in a warm spot away from drafts, and let it rise until double in size, 1 to 2 hours.
  • {Ihad no dough hook so I used wooden spoon and then my hands,{mix well at least 15 min.
  • by hand} Place rack in lower two-thirds of oven, and heat to 350°.
  • Butter two 9-inch saucepans.
  • Cut a piece of waxed paper{I use parchment paper} about 2 inches longer than the circumference of the saucepan.
  • Fold this in half lengthwise to make a double thickness.
  • Place inside the saucepan, patting it to adhere to the butter.
  • The collar should extend 3 to 4 inches above the rim of the saucepan.
  • Seal the 2-inch flap with more butter.
  • {Butterwaxed paper or parchment too}[I like to cut out circles and put on the bottom off pan, paska comes out easier] When dough has doubled in bulk, punch down, and set aside one-third of dough in a medium bowl covered with plastic wrap for decorations.
  • Divide remaining two-thirds dough evenly between saucepans.
  • Place bowl and saucepans of dough in a warm place to rise for about 30 minutes.
  • After 30 minutes, on a clean work surface, shape reserved dough into desired motifs—solar, crosses, rosettes, birds, braids, scrolls, etc.
  • Keep any dough that is not being used covered with plastic to prevent it from drying out.
  • TO ATTACH MOTIFS: Brush surface of risen dough in saucepans with 3 lightly beaten egg whites.
  • Attach decorative dough ornaments, using a toothpicks to secure motifs to loaves and leave them on until paska is baked and then gently remove toothpicks.
  • Keep in a warm place to rise until it reaches almost the top of pans, 20 to 30 minutes.
  • FOR THE GLAZE: In a small bowl, whisk together remaining 3 egg yolks and 1 tablespoon water.
  • Brush egg mixture on surface of loaves.
  • Bake 350 F.
  • for 10 minutes, then lower the oven temperature to 325°, and bake for an additional 50 minutes.
  • Cool paska in pans for 30 minutes.
  • When paska has cooled but is still warm, gently remove from pans, and transfer to a rack to cool.
  • Makes two 9-inch round loaves.