I’m finally getting back to to Grandma’s Old Wooden Recipe Box. But for this post (and in honor of Easter), I`m blogging about a recipe I got from my mum many years ago; one that`s been passed down from generation to generation.
I grew up with my mum making Paska every Easter. I would watch as she mixed the ingredients together and then got my dad to knead the dough (arthritis in her hands made that part too difficult for her). It was a yearly ritual that signaled the end of a cold dark winter and the hope of long summer days to come. Oh, how I loved it when she made her Easter bread.
The first year I lived on my own, I wanted to continue that tradition. I had made bread before, and so was quite confident it would be a wonderful success. “What could go wrong” I thought. Well, nothing … until I put the dough in a warm spot to rise. I waited. And waited. And then I waited some more. There was simply nothing happening – even after twice the amount of time it takes normally takes. I was so disappointed. I knew the yeast I had used was at least a year old and figured that must have been the problem. So at the end of a long and disappointing day in the kitchen, I threw the dough into the garbage and went to bed … heartbroken.
I’ve always believed that good night’s sleep does wonders for perspective. I woke up the next morning and as I began to make breakfast I opened the cupboard under the sink to throw something away. I started closing the cupboard door and stopped. Something had caught my attention. A massive kind of blob was oozing out of the garbage can. Yes … the bread dough I had thrown out the night before had not only risen, but was taking over the space underneath my kitchen sink. I giggled to myself and immediately called my mum.
We both had a good laugh and figured that the acid in the lemon juice slowed down the rising process. I was so relieved – I hadn’t done anything wrong afterall! Well, aside from throwing my bread dough in the trash, that is.
Since then, I’ve let my Paska rise at least 5 hours. And it’s worked out every time.
This is my own special book that I`ve written my own favorite recipes in.
- 5-7 cups flour
- 2 packages quick rise yeast
- 1 tsp salt
- 4-6 eggs (depending how large they are – we always used 4 double yolkers)
- juice and zest of 1/2 an orange and 1/2 a lemon
- 1 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup oil
- 3/4 cup scalded milk
Beat eggs well, add sugar gradually and beat until disolved. Add juice and zest to egg mixture. Set aside and let come to room temperature.
In a large bowl, mix 3/4 cup flour, salt and yeast. Add scalded milk (cool enough to stick your finger in it, but hot enough that you don’t want to keep it there) and oil. Beat with mixer for 1 minute. Add egg mixture and beat for another 3 minutes.
Stir in flour until you can’t stir anymore. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, adding flour as you need it.
Let rise until double. Shape into loaves and let rest for 10 minutes.
Place in pans and let rise until double again (about an hour and a quarter). Bake at 325 for 30-35 minutes (cover with tin foil for first 20 minutes).