Special Slovak Easter Bread Recipe

Paska is a special Slovak Easter Bread Recipe that is among traditional Eastern European yeast bread recipes and includes cheese dough.

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by AdobeStock/irina2511

Ingredients

  • 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
  • 3 eggs

Cheese Dough

  • 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

Directions

  • 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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Yields 3 loaves

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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