Nanny's "Modern" Paska Recipe
(as translated by Ed)
Read this whole thing through before you start since you
need to know what you're getting into.
Ingredients (gather ye ingredients while ye may ...)
2 pkg yeast (2 tablespoons?)
1 cup warm water
1 tbsp sugar
2 cups milk
1 1/2 cups shortening/butter/margerine
(I think it's ok to skimp a bit here)
1 tsp vanilla (you might like more of this)
1/4 tsp cardamom
3 cups sugar
8 1/2 cups flour (maybe more)
a _big_ bowl for mixing and kneading.
Prepare the following so that they are ready at the
1. - separate the eggs
- whip the whites to a meringue
- combine 2 cups of the sugar with the yolks
gradually until creamy and lemon coloured.
(I use an electric mixer)
2. - combine the yeast with the water and tbsp of sugar.
this is approximately as directed on the yeast
package. Use a big enough bowl as the yeast grows.
3. - grate the lemon and the orange (peel and all).
The lemon seeds can be a bit of a problem.
Now the fun begins (those who are about to bake, we salute you).
4. - scald one cup of milk and pour over 1/2 cup flour
and 1 cup sugar.
- stir well
- cool with 1 cup cold milk
- stir well
5. - add in melted butter/margerine/shortening.
- I actually combine this with the hot milk, flour
and sugar so that I don't need to melt it.
6. - add vanilla, cardamom, egg yolks, fruit juice and pulp
and mix well
7. - fold in beaten egg whites and yeast mixture
8. - begin mixing in the flour. At first a spoon
will work, but it will soon get too stiff.
(There is no substitute for hands at this point.)
I don't know exactly how much you'll need. The
dough is always runny (like soft taffy or maybe
thick molasses). Adding too much flour makes it
tough. Don't try to make a nice solid bread dough.
Mom recommends adding the last cup slowly around
the edges while kneading. The dough is very sticky
and it is likely that you will be finding bits
stuck to the hairs on your arms for a day or two
9. - knead for 10 minutes, the dough should get a shiny
satiny appearance. Kneading isn't really the
right word since you never really get a ball of
dough. It begins to look less like an amorphous
glob and more like, well, like bread dough.
10. - let rise twice. (rise, punch down, rise, put in
forms, rise, bake). Here's what I do. I let
it rise, then put it in the forms, then let it
rise and then bake. In principle more rising and
punching down gives smaller more delicate bubbles
in the dough. In my experience it doesn't matter.
I would fill the forms about halfway but this is
something you'll need to experiment with.
11. - Bake till done. Seriously the following is a guide
only. Use a cool oven (150-165 C). Timing depends
on the shape of your forms. Regular bread pans
probably require at least half an hour, possibly
more. Big tall pans will probably need more time
to cook the centre of the loaf. There is a lot of
sugar and egg in this recipe. The tops get dark
very fast. Sometimes you can live with it,
sometimes it's too dark. If you want light tops,
you'll need to protect them with brown paper
(shopping bag kraft paper) for some fraction of the
total cooking time (half?). Overcooking makes
the paska tough and if the tops get too brown
the whole thing tastes funny. Anyway I don't
think you'd need to go as long as an hour. But
there are no guarantees. The important thing is to
make sure the centre is done. Plunging a knife
into the centre is one way, but can collapse
the centre and make a large hole in the dough.
These pictures are from April 2004. I cooked all five loaves at once in our
lovely convection oven. That oven makes me a happy baker.
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