I Need That Recipe Only Once A Year Easter Paska Bread

paska_1_mfbI have a confession to make.  I’m a recipe junkie.  A recipe-a-holic.  A recipe hoarder. And not just online or in cookbooks.  I have scraps of paper with family recipes that are so smudged with butter grease that you can barely read them.  I have magazines dating back to 1982 because they contain one recipe that I use over and over around the holidays.

Some recipes I keep just because the picture is pretty.  Some recipes I keep because they are special.  Some recipes I keep – I have no idea why!   Some recipes I use over and over, and some recipes I haven’t even tried.

So why is it that when I wanted to make Easter paska bread this week I couldn’t find my recipe?  Oh yeah, I know why.  Because my recipe cupboard looks like this!

cookbook_cupboard_1_mfbNot a very pretty sight is it?  It seems that a couple of weeks ago when I was reorganizing my kitchen (you can read about my kitchen cupboard meltdown here) I ever so casually ignored this cupboard.  Completely by accident, I assure you. I think.

Anyway, this week I’ve been thinking about Easter and special recipes that my family only eats at Easter time.  Like paska.  Paska translates in Ukrainian to Easter, which explains a lot actually. Paska is a traditional bread that is a slightly sweeter version of white bread.  It is usually decorated with braids and other religious symbols on top and sometimes it is made with raisins and citrus zest and sometimes it’s left alone, which is my favorite way to have it.  When my Grandma would make paska at Easter, we didn’t get to eat it until after it was blessed at church on Easter morning.  Then we got to dig in.

paska_2_mfbI knew that I had a paska recipe somewhere in that mess. I used it last Easter and it was delicious.  I opened the cupboard door and I will admit, I was afraid.  I took a deep breath and closed my eyes, opened them again and yep, still there. So I did what anyone else would do. I began with one scrap of paper and then worked my way through the stacks. A-ha!  Bingo! Jackpot! I found it!  Then I shoved everything back in the cupboard and quickly closed the door.

I’ll work on it later, I promise.  I have paska to make!


I want to showcase a couple of pictures submitted by Anya Maziuk of paska that she made using my recipe.  I think it turned out fantastic!!!! I love the intricate pattern which includes birds and other symbols of Easter. 

Anya, it is simply beautiful!

Paska / My Friend's BakeryPaska / My Friend's BakeryPaska / My Friend's Bakery

Easter Paska Bread

Prep Time: 2 hours, 30 minutes

Cook Time: 45 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf

This is just one version of paska and there are many, many more versions to try. I love eating my version the next day, toasted and smothered in fresh butter and jam alongside my morning coffee. Enjoy!


  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 1 tablespoon quick rise instant or dry active yeast
  • 1/4 cup plus 1 tablespoon granulated sugar, divided
  • 1 cup scalded milk
  • 2 tablespoons canola or vegetable oil
  • 2 tablespoons butter, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 small egg
  • 1 tablespoon water


Turn your oven on and let the oven begin to heat up for 3 or 4 minutes then turn the heat off. Warming the oven this way will give your dough excellent conditions for rising.

In a small pot over medium-high heat, scald the milk. Scalding milk requires you to heat the milk until the point just before boiling. Some experts believe that scalding is an unnecessary step, however, let’s keep with tradition here. Once scalded, add 1/4 cup sugar and stir until the sugar is dissolved. Remove the pot from the heat and set aside.

In the bowl of a stand mixer, add the water, 1 tablespoon of sugar, and yeast. Stir gently until yeast is combined and then let mixture sit for 10 minutes. After 10 minutes, your yeast mixture should have grown and become frothy. If it has not grown, your yeast is dead and you must start over with either a new batch of yeast or perhaps your water temperature was too hot and it accidentally killed the yeast.

In a small bowl, lightly whisk 2 large eggs. Add oil and melted butter and mix until combined. Add the egg mixture to the milk mixture.

To the yeast mixture add 4 cups of flour and the salt. Turn the mixer, fitted with the dough attachment, on low and slowly pour in milk/egg mixture. Increase speed to medium and mix until dough is well combined. Continue mixing for several minutes. Your dough should begin to pull away from the sides of the bowl. If the dough is too sticky and does not pull away from the sides, add an additional 1/4 cup of flour at a time until it begins to pull away.

Transfer the dough to a large bowl, lightly coated with oil. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and place in the preheated oven. Do not turn the oven back on. Insert a wooden spoon or similar object in the oven door to prevent it from closing all the way. This will allow a small amount of the heat to escape. You don’t want to cook the dough yet, just warm it enough for it to rise. Let the dough rise for 45 minutes or until it has doubled in size. Once it has risen, punch it down, and cover it with a tea towel and place it back in the oven to repeat the process.

Once the dough has risen a second time, punch the dough back down. Cut off four golf ball sized pieces and use those to make the braids. Using lightly floured hands, roll each ball into a strip about 10 inches in length. Cross two strips over each other and pinch at the top and bottom to form a braid. Repeat with the other two strips.

Transfer the ball of dough to a well-greased dutch oven or oven safe pot. Place one of the braids over the dough ball, tucking the ends under the ball, pinching if necessary. Place the second braid in a cross pattern over the first, tucking and pinching if necessary. Cover the dough with a tea towel and let it rise and rest for 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.

While dough is resting, whisk together 1 small egg and 1 tablespoon of water to make an egg wash. Once dough has rested, use a pastry brush to brush the top of the dough with the egg wash. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until the bread is golden brown and your kitchen smells like Heaven. Remove from the oven and let cool before removing it from the pan.


Original Recipe by My Friend's Bakery 2013


You may also like:

pavlova_with_lemon_curd_and_berries_3_mfbhow_to_make_whipped_cream_9_mfbEaster Macaroni And Cheese / My Friend's Bakery


  1. Vern says:

    As always. My sister treats my Dad and myself to all of her experiments and smash hits. I have always appreciated not only the effort to try new recipes but also to master those truly excellent recipes that I have craved throughout my years. She brought over this Paska bread the other day and of course it didn’t last long. Now, this may not be a typical dilemma for most but what do you do when you want more? Ask her to bring more or start tackling these recipes on your own?Well, I usually try them, but I also have my way of doing things. Bread is of course my nemisis. I am getting better, but never like my sister’s. Thank you again, Laura. Never not know that I see how busy you are in life, to take the time to care enough about everyone even though it’s never reciprocated as much as you deserve. You truly are the best.

  2. Patricia Trimble says:

    I too am a recipe hoarder. Books, magazines, scraps of paper, pages torn from publications or hastily written on the backs of envelopes gleaned from magazines read in waiting rooms. I covet my recipes. It is so nice to know there are birds of the same feather out there and I’m not alone in this world. While I don’t eat a lot of bread – I LOVE making it and delivering it to someone who will enjoy it. Or bringing it as a hostess gift or a thank you. I love to bake just to bake. For the sheer joy of the process and the crowning glory result. This recipe has a beautiful crowning glory and I look forward to making it. Thank you for sharing.

  3. Marnee Bonchuk says:

    Going to try this Paska Laura – my mom-in-law Jean, Bernice’s sister made hers with peel and all spice so HAVE to make some of that as well, struggle a little with the braids and ornamental stuff on top but hey my Dave is happy with my attempts! Love your blog!!

    • My Friend's Bakery says:

      Thanks Marnee. The trick is to stick with simple braids. Don’t get too complicated for your first few attempts. And even if it doesn’t look exactly like the picture, it will still be delicious! Have fun and Happy Easter!

  4. dave says:

    Why can’t I find a recipe where I don’t need a stand mixer? I want one where I use my hands. Now I’m lost on this recipe.

    • My Friend's Bakery says:

      You can do it in a bowl, just follow the same directions except use a wooden spoon to incorporate the flour then the wet ingredients. Once they are all incorporated, turn the dough out onto a well floured surface, and knead for 10 – 15 minutes by hand, until the dough is elastic. Then transfer to the oiled bowl to rise as written.
      My grandmothers always made it by hand, but I guess I’m used to letting the mixer do all the work for me.

      • dave says:

        I just made it like I made bread before. It turned out awesome. TY so much. My girlfriend said it tastes like her grandmothers!! Mission accomplished!! Happy Easter!!

  5. Rhonda says:

    I just made this awesome bread for the first time! Followed the recipe exactly step by step and it turned out beautifully. Smells wonderful, tastes fantastic and looks like I knew what I was doing. Your friends will be very impressed.

  6. Anya Maziak says:

    I can’t tell you how happy I am that I made this recipe this Easter after finding it a couple years ago. It is indeed the case that I bake paska once a year, and I have tried so many recipes: from my Ukrainian cookbook, from my mom, the Martha Stewart one. This is the perfect size for one large loaf, is just the right texture/sweetness/taste, was relatively easy, (yay for mixers) and came out wonderfully! I wish I could share the picture — I did a more elaborate design (braid, four-sided curled cross, birds, and a flower) — and it grew and baked just perfectly! And it’s still moist five days later. Ladies and gents, we have a winner. Thank you, Laura!

    • My Friend's Bakery says:

      Thank you Anya. I’m so glad that it turned out well for you. I can’t seem to get very creative with the braids and designs (no patience maybe?) so I do them very simple, but would love to see a picture if you want to email it to me at myfriendsbakery@gmail.com. I’d love to share it if you let me so people can see the possibilities!

Say your piece. State your mind. Have your say.