Paska is a special Slovak Easter Bread Recipe that is among traditional Eastern European yeast bread recipes and includes cheese dough.
Lois Severson, Marlton, New Jersey, remembers her grandmother baking an Easter Bread that contained raisins and had a thick ribbon of cottage cheese down the middle of the loaf. The cheese ribbon baked into a golden treat that tasted wonderful, she says.
Toni Muller, Monticello, Iowa, sends this recipe from a church cookbook published in Livonia, Michigan.
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Yields 3 loaves
Basic Bread Dough:
1 cake yeast
1 cup warm water, divided
1/2 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
2 cups milk, brought to a boil
1/4 pound butter (1 stick)
8 cups flour
2 tablespoons salt
1 cake yeast
1/2 cup warm milk
1 cup plus 1 tablespoon sugar, divided
1 pound dry cottage cheese
1 cup yellow raisins
4 egg yolks
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon lemon zest
1 teaspoon baking powder
3 cups sifted flour
To make basic dough, crumble yeast in 1/2 cup water with 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside for 5 minutes.
Pour boiling milk over butter, remaining sugar and remaining water. Cool to lukewarm. Sift flour into bowl; add salt, eggs, milk mixture and yeast mixture. Knead dough until smooth and elastic. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours, in warm place.
To make cheese dough, crumble yeast in warm milk to which 1 tablespoon sugar has been added; let stand for 5 minutes.
Mix cottage cheese with spoon until smooth. Add yellow raisins and yeast mixture. Add unbeaten egg yolks, remaining sugar, salt, lemon zest, baking powder and flour; knead well. Set aside to rise until doubled in bulk, about 2 hours.
When basic dough has doubled in size, turn out onto lightly floured board and divide into 4 parts (1 part is for decorating, the remaining 3 are for the 3 loaves). Shape 3 parts into rounds. Let basic dough rounds stand on board, covered, for 15 minutes.
Take 1 part of basic dough on board; lightly punch around edge to elevate center.
Divide cheese dough into thirds. Roll out 1 part of cheese dough into long log and place it around elevated edge of basic dough; lightly make opening in center of basic dough. Join edges of basic dough; press carefully so cheese dough is completely covered.
Place dough in pan and let rise for 30 to 45 minutes. (Round pans or stainless steel bowls are typically used here.) Repeat for remaining 2 rounds of basic dough and remaining 2 parts of cheese dough.
Preheat oven to 325 F.
Use 4th part of basic dough to make braids, crosses, etc., and attach with egg yolk.
Brush top with egg yolk before placing in oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Increase oven temperature to 350 F and continue baking for an additional 40 minutes.
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