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
  • 3 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 milk, butter, lemon and orange in a large bowl.  
  4. Add beaten eggs, sugar and salt.  Mix well. 
  5. Combine instant yeast with 4 cups flour and add to liquids.  Beat until smooth.
  6. Continue adding flour, one cup at a time until the dough no longer sticky, but still quite soft.
  7. Knead for several minutes.
  8. Let rise in a warm spot until doubled in size.
  9. Form small balls (the size of dinner rolls) and place on well greased pans.
  10. Allow to rise once more until doubled in size about 1 1/2 hours. 
  11. Bake at 325°F for about 15-20 minutes or until golden brown. 
  12. Remove to wire racks to cool.
  13. 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!

 

36 comments:

  1. I've been waiting for a warmer day because I'm quite certain that Paska wouldn't rise well in the colder temps. Course, if I don't get going, it won't get done!

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  2. LIke my littlest would say...hum hum! I am going to bake them like this for Pastorate tonight. Two bite...or three bit wonders. Thanks Judy...they look so yummy!

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  3. I'm Slovak, and our Paska is a little different - no icing, and with a raisin cheese dough center baked in a tube pan. My dad made it every year for Easter, along with nut roll and pagach, and us kids kept up the tradition after he passed. Yours look yummy!

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    1. My Polish mother-in-law made paska in a ring, filled with prune or apricot filling. Delicious.

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  4. Ok, I've been looking at these paska recipes for years - this is the year I'm finally going to try it! Somehow these buns don't seem as intimidating as the other paska recipes, plus I like the sharing part. What sort of icing is recommended?

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    1. I use a basic butter type icing (1/4 cup butter, 2 cups icing sugar, milk to make a soft icing and 1 teaspoon vanilla). You can also check out Lovella's paska icing on this blog (http://www.mennonitegirlscancook.ca/2009/03/paska-lovellas-recipe.html)which has egg whites in it. Others prefer a cream cheese frosting.


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    2. Lovely! Thank you so much. Happy Easter to all.

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  5. Judy, we have the same recipe for paska, the only difference is the orange zest and juice. I usually only use lemons in mine but today I mixed it just like yours:)
    The dough is rising right now. I can hardly wait to have the wonderful aroma of paska baking in my house!

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  6. I've never tried Paska, but you may have convinced me to give it a go! They look amaze! Thanks for sharing!

    SarahSee. Beauty

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  7. 325 for 15 minutes seems low and too fast to cook through, is the oven temp a typo?? I want to make these this weekend...

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    1. I posted the temperature and time that I use...however, every oven is different. Either 325°F or 350°F would be fine...no higher or the sweet dough will brown too quickly.

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  8. Just made these and they turned out great! It was my first time making paska (and my first time baking with yeast). They totally remind me of the buns my grandma used to bake. :) Happy Easter!!

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    1. I'm so glad they turned out for you! And thanks for coming back and letting us know. Happy Easter to you!

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  9. this is my second year making paska (nana used to do it but she passed last year) and i had never considered making buns. definitely something i'm going to try before the weekend is over!

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  10. what adjustments should I make if using active dry yeast instead of instant yeast? Do you have the same amount of flour? Since you have to proof the yeast with water does that change the amt. of milk, lemon, orange juice? Thank you for an answer. Lucy

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    1. Lucy...I'll give you the link for Lovella's paska recipe (also on this blog), which is very much the same as mine, but uses active dry yeast. I adapted my recipe to use instant yeast, since I always use my Bosch machine for mixing it.

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  11. I kneaded mine by hand but I do have a Bosch machine. Approximately how many minutes would you let it mix for once all the flour was mixed in?

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    1. If you are mixing the dough in your Bosch machine, I would knead it for 3-5 minutes once all the flour is in.

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  12. Thank you for your reply to my question on how to adjust the yeast from instant to active dry yeast packets. I made the recipe this morning into buns and put the icing on that has the whole egg and then dipped the buns into the sprinkles and we are READY for tomorrow's brunch. Delicious and so much better than the coffee can Paska's my mom used to make. This way, everyone gets icing and sprinkles in every bite. Thank you!!!! Lucy

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  13. I am a Mennonite girl and I can cook, too, but I had never heard of Paska until reading your blog. I first read Lovella's recipe and thought, wow, that's pretty involved, and although I'd be game to try it, it makes too much. Then I found this Paska buns recipe and decided to give it a go. Yum. The folks at our Easter breakfast at church thought it was delicious. So does my small family. It was the most beautiful dough I have worked with for a long time. I was wondering, if a person left out the citrus and cut the sugar back, if it would still turn out so light and soft and might work as a roll recipe?

    My Mennonite heritage is from Swiss and German roots. Our comfort foods are different: cinnamon rolls, Quakertown crumb pie, apple dumplings. As a member of a church whose Mennonites are largely from Russian ancestry, I have been learning more about the traditions in that strain: zwieback, bierocks, verenika, and the like. But none of them had heard of Paska, either, so it must be a Canadian thing.

    Thank you for sharing the buns recipe, and blessed Easter to you all!

    Andrea Zuercher
    Lawrence, Kansas

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    1. Thanks, Andrea...for sharing your story with us. We have Swiss and German Mennonite friends and our traditional foods are quite different than theirs. We are quite enjoying some of their dishes...and they are cooking from the Mennonite Girls Can Cook cookbook. Paska originated in eastern Europe and Russia, as I understand.

      I'm so glad the paska buns turned out well for you. That recipe is a cross between my original paska recipe...and the refrigerator potato rolls that are a year-round family favorite over here. The refrigerator potato rolls are in our first cookbook (and also on my personal blog at http://judys-front-porch.blogspot.ca/2007/10/refrigerator-potato-rolls.html). They are much like the paska buns...but with less sugar and no citrus.

      Enjoy!
      Judy

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    2. Pascha originated in Russian Orthodox tradition; interesting to read the many variations here. My grandmothers are rolling in their graves! Pascha was always baked w/sultana raisin, almonds, saffron, lemon peel and juice, all white colors, (for purity at Easter) in a coffee can, which baked like the churches, after puffing up, and rounding, like a dome. Icing was powdered sugar, grated lemon peel, & water to thin, drizzled over he warm bread, and sprinkled in silver nonpareils, to simulate the stars.
      The most exciting Easter was, when I was 12, my grandmother baked me one of my own.
      Another part of Orthodoxy was on Easter morning, we dressed only in new clothes. Everything, including hair ribbons, had to have never been worn before.
      Thanks for giving me room to reminisce.

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  14. I live in Guatemala so I am making these to take to church tonight...yeast comes in a block here so I bring some back from Canada.
    I noticed that the recipe says nothing about what to do with the yeast so I added it to the milk and butter...hope it works.
    Easter starts the first Sunday of Lent here and goes until Easter Monday. I may make these again for our Guatemalan .
    friends...anything with icing on it has to be good! I had to use 8.5 cups of flour and it is very sticky after it has risen...is this our altitude or what did I do wrong????

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    1. Instant yeast is combined with the flour and then added to the dough...in step #4.

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  15. i just finished making these according to your exact recipe and butter icing, it turned out amazing!! ive never made them before, the only thing is i used my convection oven and it only needed about 9 minutes to cook. thanks so much for sharing your recipe! :)

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  16. Hi ladies - as a Canadian with Mennonite heritage living in the Bavarian Alps this saved our Easter Saturday Paska baking tradition. We couldn't find the recipe - remembered you and the cook book. Thanks again (it would have been too early to call mom in Canada).
    Thanks again,
    Rempels in Bavaria PS Paska has many origins, found all over Eastern Europe in variations. The Poles, the Czechs, The Slovanians, Slovakians, Ukrainians and Russians each have their own traditions. The Mennonite variations stays my favorite!

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  17. Living in Guatemala I never know how a recipe is going to turn out....usually I need to add 2-4 cups more flour but with your Paska recipe it was only about 1 cup more....they are rising in the sunshine, as we have summer now, and should be ready to be baked in 20 minutes.....come over around 3pm Abbotsford time and you can join us! Blessings for a wonderful Easter.

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  18. How far apart should the buns be on the pan?

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    1. I leave a good inch between the buns to allow room when they rise.

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  19. Thank you so much for this recipe. I cut it in half and made the dough in my Zo bread machine. It's fabulous! I made this for Easter dinner, and my very petite sister who nibbles ate three of them. My adult nephew couldn't get enough and said these are some of the best baked goods he's ever had. My extended family has begged me to make them again, so I have two pans rising in the oven now as I'm writing. One thing I changed: To save time, I heated the milk, zest, and butter in the microwave, which worked really well. The zest flavors the milk. Thank you again. These are in my regular baking rotation.

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  20. Salted or unsalted butter? Looks amazing!

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  21. Should I bake them on cookie sheets or glass 9x13 pans?

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  22. Where do you add the juice of lemon and orange? I am missing something and would love to make these.

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  23. Karen, you add the juice along with the rinds to the milk and butter.

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