Weekend Recipe: Ukrainian Easter bread

Ukrainian Easter Bread


Паска | Paska

Sometimes called kulich but we call it paska in the south, this is a slightly bonkers cousin of the Italian panettone. Don’t be put off by the mashed potato starter – it adds a beautiful texture to the bread. When my friend Emma tested the original recipe, I received an alarmed email from her that simply enquired, ‘Is your Aunt a professional baker?’ There was so much dough and it was so alive that it exploded in her huge Magimix bowl and all over the refrigerator. Moral of the story – we make A LOT of these during Easter, which is our biggest religious holiday.

Makes 3 x 800g (1lb 10oz) breads

Starter
3 potatoes, peeled and chopped
1 litre (1¾ pints) cold water
3 tablespoons organic plain flour

Dough
250ml (8fl oz) warm milk
15g (¾oz) fresh yeast or 7g ( ¼oz) dried active yeast
4 egg yolks, at room temperature
150g (5oz) caster sugar
1kg (2lb) plain flour
sunflower oil, for oiling
100g (3½oz) sultanas

Glaze
175g (6oz) icing sugar
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
2 tablespoons water
hundreds and thousands, to decorate (optional)

1 For the starter, place the potatoes in a saucepan, cover with the water and bring to the boil. Cook for 15 minutes or until quite soft.

2 Pour away all but 200ml (7fl oz) of the cooking water and mash the potatoes with the remaining liquid.

3 Add the flour and mix well, then cover and leave in a warm place for 12 hours.

4 To make the dough, add the milk (make sure it’s warm but not hot) and the yeast to the starter and mix well.

5 Beat the egg yolks with the sugar in a large bowl with an electric whisk until foamy.

6 Fold the milk and yeast mixture into the egg mixture. Gradually sift in and mix in the flour – the dough should be firm but bouncy. Cover the dough with a clean tea towel and leave to rise in a warm place for about an hour.

7 Moisten your hands with some sunflower oil and knead the dough for about 15 minutes. Scatter the sultanas on your work surface and knead them into the dough.

8 Now divide the dough into 4 pieces. Oil 3 x 800g (1lb 10oz) cleaned tomato cans and half-fill them with the dough. Leave to prove in a warm place for 1 hour.

Extracted from Mamushka by Olia Hercules. Available here

9 Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 180°C/350°F/Gas Mark 4.

10 Place the cans on a baking sheet and bake for 40–45 minutes on the lowest shelf of the oven. Let the breads cool completely in the tins, then run a palette knife around the edges to help remove from the tins.

11 To make the glaze, whisk the icing sugar, vanilla extract and water together in a bowl, then brush over the top of the breads, letting it drip along the sides. Decorate with hundreds and thousands, if you like.

9781784720384


Extracted from Mamushka by Olia Hercules. Available here

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