De Omni Scribili

Scribblings Of Ed Wiebe

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
	8		eggs
	1 1/2	cups	shortening/butter/margerine
                        (I think it's ok to skimp a bit here)
	1		orange
	1		lemon
	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 
same time.

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
          after.

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.
slice of paska loaves of paska
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