Tuesday, 26 March 2013

Susan's Paska Easter Breads

When Easter is here we know Spring is just around the corner.
Traditionally leavened breads are used to welcome the sign of renewal.
Many cultures twist and shape these delicate fluffy morsels into many shapes to signify the death and resurrection of Christ. If you are not religious you can shape this delicate dough into a shape you desire.
I "uh um" borrowed this recipe and the design from others. My "chicks" look more like seals or chubby Walrusus! But everyone who sees them cooes at how cute they are. They make me laugh and that's fun too!
This individual size is perfect for large get togethers.This is the best dough I have ever tasted as each home has their own recipe handed down throughout the generations.  This sweet bread rises beautifully and
uses whole pureed oranges and lemons, giving it a wonderful fragrance when baking and eating.
I have added a modern twist with the added dried fruits.
Use your imagination add whatever your family loves and make a new tradition!
The egg used in this twisted design signifies the renewal of life.
It is place uncooked into the dough, proofed and then baked.
You could use coloured eggs as well.
Make sure the colouring is food safe
It's long braid is the cross that Jesus had to bare and the circular top is a representation of his thorny crown.
1 each orange and lemon*,quartered, seeded *I used lime with this batch*
1 cup sugar
5 eggs
3/4 cup oil
pinch of salt
1 cup warm water
2 1/2 tbsp yeast (instant shortens the prep. time)
4cup flour + 4-5cups more
1 1/2 cup hot water
Dried Fruit
1/2 cup cranberries, raisins, candied orange peel or a mixture of your choice (for inside and chick eyes)
12 whole almonds sliced diagonally (for beaks)
1egg: whisked with a tbsp of water for an egg wash
2 cup icing sugar
2-3 tbsp orange juice
1 tsp almond, orange, vanilla extract or rum
In a stand mixer bowl, combine the yeast and water, add just a pinch of sugar to feed the yeast. Let the mixture sit for 10min until it foams.
*If you are using instant yeast, the above waiting time can be omitted*
Place orange and lemon into processor and blend to a fine pulp. Using a spatula, scrape the mixture out and place in stand mixer bowl.
Begin to mix using the dough hook, add eggs, oil, sugar and salt.
Slowly add 4 cups of flour, alternating with the hot (not boiling)water. Scrape sides down.
Continue to add the next 4-5 cups of flour.
Remove from mixer when dough is too thick and can no longer mix. Continue kneading by hand on a floured surface until dough is no longer sticky.
Place back into mixer bowl and cover with plastic wrap or a clean tea towel. Place in a draft free place ie: the oven with the pilot light on.
Allow to rise for approx. 1 hr until doubled in size.
Punch down and begin to shape. See pictures.
Add a small amount of flour onto your rolling surface, so the dough does not stick. Add the desired fruit when rolling into a long rope.
~Chickadees: 1/2" x 5" long rope, tied in a knot.
Flatten one end with your finger and slash to form tail. Head: pinch with two tiny pieces of dried fruit and insert sliver of almond to form beak.~
Round Circle: form 2"-3" x 16-20" rope, fold in half then braid along the length of the rope. Fold again forming a circle, pinch the ends together to seal and insert egg if you'd like or use a greased oven proof ramekin.
Long Braid: same as step above, do not join ends into circle. On folded end insert egg or greased oven proof dish, which can be removed.
Form into which ever design you choose. Place on parchment or silpat lined baking sheet.  If you do not have either, place on a greased baking sheet.
Cover with a tea cloth and let rise 1/2hr-1hr in a no draft area. Brush with egg wash. Bake in a preheated oven until golden brown. Each size will have different times from 20min -40min. watch carefully.
Glaze: While sweet bread is baking, mix the glaze ingredients together. Set aside to allow lumps to melt.  Brush over cooled breads. Add sprinkles if desired.
Enjoy with love!

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