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A just-baked loaf of homemade paska, the traditional Slovak Easter bread, still in the pan and resting on a cooling rack.
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4.92 from 12 votes

Homemade Paska - Slovak Easter Bread

Make this rich, slightly sweet homemade paska - a traditional Slovak or Eastern European Easter bread, and one of my favorite childhood traditions!

Ingredients

Bread

  • 5 cups (602 grams) all-purpose flour
  • 2 1/4 teaspoons (1 packet) instant dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup (50 grams) granulated sugar
  • 2 1/2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 cup whole milk
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/4 cup (4 tablespoons, 57 grams) unsalted butter, at room temperature

Topping

  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tablespoon water
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar

Instructions

  • Using a stand mixer or wooden spoon, mix and knead all of the dough ingredients — flour through butter — until it comes together into a soft, smooth ball. The dough should be pliable, not very sticky, and bounce back when poked lightly with your finger.
  • Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl and set aside on the counter. Allow it to rise for 60-90 minutes, until nearly doubled in size. Meanwhile, lightly grease a 9-inch round pan and set aside. (I love using a springform pan for this, but a cake pan also works well.)
  • Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Pull off about a quarter of it — you'll use this to form the braids. Shape the remaining large piece of dough into a smooth ball, and place in the center of the prepared pan.
  • Divide the reserved piece of dough into three equal pieces, and roll each one out into a strand about 18"-20". Use these three strands to create one long braid. (See photos in post for a visual.)
  • Cut the braid in half, then place in a cross on top of the larger piece of dough in the pan. (Alternatively, you could wrap the braid in one length around the inside edge of the pan.)
  • Cover the loaf and let rise for about 45 minutes, until approximately doubled in size. Near the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (180 C) and place a rack in the lower-middle.
  • When the bread has risen, make the topping. Beat the egg and water together with a fork in a small bowl, and brush the mixture gently over the loaf. Sprinkle with additional sugar, as desired.
  • Bake bread for 35 to 45 minutes, until the top is a rich golden brown. Remove from the oven and let cool completely before cutting and serving. 

Notes

  1. If well-wrapped, leftovers will keep for 3-4 days. Even once the bread begins to go slightly stale, it makes excellent toast if cut into thick slices, especially spread with jam. Or, for a real treat, homemade lemon curd!
  2. Adapted from a family recipe with a little help from King Arthur Flour, specifically to help convert a ratio of cakes to instant dry yeast.

Nutrition Estimate

Calories: 320kcal, Carbohydrates: 55g, Protein: 9g, Fat: 6g, Saturated Fat: 3g, Cholesterol: 46mg, Sodium: 642mg, Potassium: 120mg, Fiber: 2g, Sugar: 7g, Vitamin A: 210IU, Calcium: 29mg, Iron: 3.1mg
Did you make this recipe?Leave a review below, then snap a quick picture and tag @nourishandfete on Instagram so I can see it!