Tuesday, March 26, 2013

Paska Buns

Paska (based on the Hebrew word for passover) is a rich, citrussy sweet bread...baked in loaves or rolls of all shapes and sizes and decorated with icing and sprinkles. It is a traditional Easter bread...baked by many generations before me. There are enough paska lovers in our family...that I think tradition that will carry on!

The Saturday before Easter was paska baking day in my childhood home.  It was mostly baked in loaf pans...and on Easter Sunday we enjoyed the nicely decorated fresh paska.  Though I still bake some in loaf form...we prefer paska buns over here.  They are easy to transport and share with friends and neighbours.  The following recipe uses instant yeast for simplicity.

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 1 small lemon, zest and juice
  • 1 small orange, zest and juice
  • 4 eggs, well beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons instant yeast *
  • 7-7 1/2 cups flour , approximately

  1. Scald milk and butter in microwave for about 2 minutes. Stir to melt butter.
  2. Grate rind of lemon and orange. Then squeeze juice of each.
  3. Combine all above ingredients in large bowl, together with beaten eggs, sugar and salt.  Mix well. 
  4. Combine instant yeast with 4 cups flour and add to liquids.  Beat until smooth.
  5. Continue adding flour, one cup at a time until the dough no longer sticky, but still quite soft.
  6. Knead for several minutes.
  7. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size.
  8. Form small balls (the size of dinner rolls) and place on well greased pans.
  9. Allow to rise once more until doubled in size about 1 1/2 hours. 
  10. Bake at 325°F for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 
  11. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  12. Frost with the icing of your choice...and top with sprinkles. 
Yield: 3 dozen paska buns
 * If you have active dry yeast, you might want to use Lovella's recipe, which is very similar to this one.

Yeast doughs that are heavy on milk, butter and eggs tend to rise a little slower.  Have patience!