snack saturday


For the first time ever, I've made Paska.

I used the recipe from one of my favorite recipe sites, Mennonite Girls Can Cook(pictures also taken from there)

You will need 4 or 5 loaf pans . .or you can free form little twists or use muffin tins. .. just adjust your baking time. the oven closely.

2 tablespoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon sugar
In a large bowl, put your yeast, sugar and warm water. Let sit 10 minutes. .if it hasn't poofed up . . either your yeast is old, or dead . ..if that happens, start again. There is no point in going on without nice poofy yeast.

1 medium lemon
1 medium orange
Take your citrus and peel it very thin. I use a vegetable peeler. You don't want to use any of the white part of the peel. Put the thinly sliced peel in the blender.
Once you have removed and discarded the white pith of the citrus.. .chop your lemon and orange . .removing all the seeds. Add the chopped lemon and orange to the blender.

1 1/4 cup milk
1/2 cup of real butter
In a microwave safe bowl, heat the butter and milk until the butter melts. .or do it in a saucepan on the stove.
Once it is melted .. .add it to the blender. Start the blender .. and begin to puree.

2 large eggs
3/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
Start the blender on high and allow the citrus, peel and milk, butter mixture to run for about 2 or 3 minutes.
Add the eggs, sugar and salt.
Continue to run the blender for another minute or two until very smooth.

Measure the milk/citrus and sugar mixture. . it should be about 4 1/2 cups. If you have a bit more or less that is fine. .you will just adjust the flour likewise.
Pour the mixture, along with the yeast mixture into a large bowl .. or the bowl of your kitchen machine, which has a dough hook.

Add flour. . .one cup at a time until you have a smooth soft dough .. .it will be sticky. I think about 7 cups of flour should be right. . but it will depend on the size of your eggs and the size of your lemon and orange. With a plastic bowl . .it is easy to tell when the dough has enough flour because it will stop sticking to the side of the bowl ..but with a metal bowl you really do need to stop the mixer often and touch your dough before adding additional flour. It really is best to stop the machine once it is getting close. . and knead the last bit of flour by hand. . .a little at a time until it is smooth. Do not add more than 7 1/2 cups flour. . allow it to remain sticky. If you measured the milk mixture and had 4 1/2 cups. .7 cups of flour will be enough. . .sticky but enough.

I am going to add this info now for 2010 readers. . . . The amount of flour is a guide. .if your dough is still super sticky add a little more flour a dusting at a time. Look at the picture in the collage of my dough .. .that is how it should look. It should be able to hold its shape. There will be several factors in how your dough could be different than mine. . .the flour you purchase or how you fill your cup of flour. . I scoop and shake to level. Or. . it could be that you have slightly more liquid. Dont' despair if you think it is still too sticky. . .go slow. . add a dusting more. .turn the dough on the counter and knead until you are out of flour again. .and then give it another dusting and continue this way until. . .it looks like mine in the picture. . .I hope this helps. . I really do.

After kneading it by hand or with the machine for about 8 - 10 minutes. . .transfer to a large bowl, cover with plastic wrap, a tea towel and allow to rise until doubled. This should take about an hour. .to an hour and a half.
At this point, give it a bit of a punch down and let rest at least 10 minutes or up to another hour.

During this time prepare your pans. I spray mine with Pam. Make loaves and let rise until doubled in bulk .. .or about an hour to an hour and a half.
Preheat the oven to 350 F. Bake the loaves about 20 minutes. .but again it totally depends on the size of your pans.
Allow to cool on cooling racks. . I put them in the freezer unless we are eating them the same day . .

Paska Icing
1 cup of soft real butter
4 egg whites (keep in mind that young children, pregnant women and people with compromised immue systems should avoid raw egg whites). ..I found egg white powder this year that is pasteurized.
2 teaspoons vanilla
enough icing sugar to make a soft icing. It will harden again in the fridge.
Beat all together until light and smooth....and spread on each slice .. .and sprinkle with colored sugar.

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