Paska – Ukrainian Easter Bread

As I mentioned in my “How to make Pysanky” blog post, my absolute favorite part of Easter – growing up – was Ukrainian Easter bread, called Paska. My grandmother’s neighbor would bake it every year and share it with us. After the egg hunt was over, I knew we’d be going to my grandmothers and this delicious, citrussy bread would be waiting for us. SO GOOD. It’s sweet, and almost like a cross between a cake and a bread, and she used to bake it in coffee cans. It’s traditionally served at Ukrainian Easter celebrations, and I think of it as a breakfast bread.

The memories of that bread were so vivid, when that Pysanky post brought them up, that I decided to get the recipe from my grandmother. It’s always interesting when you’re trying to get a recipe through a game of telephone – especially when the first two passes are through old ladies 🙂 As usual with my family, the recipe came as more of a formula – no instructions… and I adapted it a little (increased the flour, increased the zest, changed lard to butter, ditched the coffee can in favor of decorated style), figured out what the directions would be, and made it last night.

I had originally planned to make this as a blog entry only, pass the finished product off to my husband to share at work, and behave myself. Gluten allergy be damned, I dug into that sucker AS I was taking it out of the oven! Whatever fallout should happen as a result, it’ll be worth it!

I prefer this bread served warm, either fresh out of the oven or microwaved. It’s a very tender, moist bread, so be sure to keep it from drying out. Also, it makes a TON of bread, so be prepared to make some friends VERY happy. There seem to be some wildly different ideas of what Paska entails – many don’t have citrus, some have a frosting – but this is what I was raised on, and it won’t disappoint!

I’m thinking that this will make some AMAZING French toast this weekend. Oh yeah. With a little vanilla, orange zest, and a splash of OJ in the custard… MMMmmm…








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5 thoughts on “Paska – Ukrainian Easter Bread

  1. Oh, my… I found your blog from searching paska and I am having difficulty leaving. Between the MN ties (my husband is from upper MN), Ukranian traditions (I’m Polish), your beautiful pictures and colorful wording, I don’t want to leave. Thanks for all the interesting read!!

  2. I tried out this recipe today. Holy cow, when you said it makes a lot, you weren’t kidding! I made two mini loves, one 10″ tart pan, one 2-Quart bowl, one giant oval casserole dish, and one tube pan.
    It just came out of the oven 20 minutes ago, and the husband and I had to test a slice (with butter, of course) even though it’s bedtime. Bedtime be damned! There’s paska to be eaten!
    I think this recipe will be an Easter tradition from now on. Thanks so much for sharing it again on Facebook this week (http://www.facebook.com/CelebrationGeneration) — I must have missed it the first time it appeared on your blog.

  3. Thank you for sharing your recipe! It is delicious and perfect instructions. It was sooo hard to wait for it to get done, the smell is incredible! I will be making this for every Easter.

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