This Paska Easter Bread is the perfect Easter dessert. A tasty update on an old classic, made with white chocolate, macadamia nuts and cranberries. Topped with a glossy egg white icing glaze, with easy video instructions. Sweet, light, airy and delicious!
Why You'll Love This Recipe
- Easter Tradition - create memories making traditional Easter Bread
- Updated Modern Recipe - flavor packed with white chocolate, macadamias and cranberries
- Easy Video - watch the video to follow and guide you
What is Paska?
Paska is an Easter Bread that's popular across Orthodox countries in Eastern Europe with many variations. Ukrainian Paska, Armenian Paska, Bulgarian Paska, Georgian Paska, Slovak Paska, Russian Paska and more. It's also popular in countries with immigration from Eastern Europe, including with Mennonite communities.
Some Paska's are tall, cylindrical and covered with icing, while others are low with a braided decoration on top. Others have no icing, and they often have religious symbols or meanings.
Ingredients You'll Need
- lukewarm milk - 105°F-115°F (40°C-46°C)
- dry yeast - instant dry yeast works great
- flour - all purpose flour or Canadian flour (with higher protein)
- eggs - free range is best
- sugar - white sugar or berry sugar
- melted butter - salted butter is ok to use
- vanilla extract - or real vanilla
- sour cream - adds moisture to bread
- white chocolate chips - or chocolate chunks
- macadamia nuts - roughly chopped
- dried cranberries - can substitute with dried currants
- egg white glaze - icing sugar, egg white and vanilla
Getting Started - Paska Molds
Easy Method - Panettone Paper Molds
The easiest way is to buy Panettone Paper Molds that you can get at Amazon. They are single use, disposable round paper molds that you place your Paska inside to bake. Quick, easy, no fuss and no extra pans to store for the rest of the year.
I bought some silicon molds on Ebay which are re-usable, easy to wash, and are non-stick. I still spray them with the cooking spray, but these are super easy to use. The silicone molds have the letters ХВ raised on the inside, which rests against the dough. The ХВ stands for Христос Воскрес - Christ is Risen. It doesn't always work, and often you can't see the letters.
Large metal cans require the most prep work, but are easily available. Save cans from metal coffee can or large pineapple juice cans (as in video). If using the tin can method, always grease the inside of the pan. After greasing, line the base and the sides of the cans with baking paper. This makes it easy to remove without frustration.
Best Yeast for Paska
Dry Yeasts are commonly found in supermarkets and technically don't need to be activated before using. However, I always activate yeast with lukewarm milk, sugar and flour before using. If it bubbles, you know it is alive and won't waste time or ingredients re-making.
Instant Dry Yeast - quickly dissolves and can be added dry into your recipe
Rapid Rise Yeast - a strong rising yeast, only needs one rise before use
Active Yeast - similar to Instant Yeast, not as finely ground, used the same
Fresh Yeast - strong flavored yeast sold in a block. If using fresh yeast, triple the amount of yeast in the recipe below (to get a nice rise). Crumble it and add it liquids to activate as per recipe
Paska Bread Recipe with Raisins
Traditionally Paska Bread is often made by adding raisins into the dough mixture. This modern Paska recipe has been updated to reflect current flavor trends. Everyone will love the improved flavors in this Paska recipe!
- dried blueberries
- dried blackcurrants
- dried cranberries (Craisins)
- dried sultanas
How to Make Paska Easter Bread
This recipe is easy to make, but can be time consuming. It takes about 3 hours to make, including waiting time sweet bread dough to rise. The sweet dough is super sticky, and I try not to handle it too much with my hands. I use a KitchenAid Mixmaster to mix the eggs, and then switch to the dough hook to complete the kneading.
- Activate the Yeast - with lukewarm milk, sugar and a bit of flour
- Mix - add yeast mixture with the flour and beaten egg mixture to make dough
- Knead - using a dough hook and mixer, or with your hands
- Proof - allow to rise in warm place for 1½ - 2 hours
- Add - mix chocolate chips, cranberries and macadamias
- Grease and Fill - grease cans and fill ⅔ way up with sweet dough
- Proof Again - keep warm and let rise 30-60 minutes
- Bake - in a pre-heat oven 350°F/180°C for about 30 minutes
- Glaze - cover with an egg white icing glaze and add sprinkles
Pro Tip: When your dough is ready to be placed into the molds, I spray my hands with oil. The sticky dough doesn't stick to my hands, making it easy to handle. Use a neutral oil spray, like canola or even vegetable oil.
Paska Easter Bread takes about 30 minutes to bake, but this depends on the size and shape of your molds or metal tins.
Keep an eye on the top of the Paska so it doesn't burn. If it starts to burn, you can cover with foil to protect it. Use a wooden skewer to test that the Paska is cooked on the inside. Allow to fully cool before adding the glaze.
Proofing Paska Dough
You need a warm place for your dough to rise. Don't rush the time. For best results, it will take 2 hours for the dough to rise. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a tea towel and place in the sun by the window.
My mom placed her dough near the wood stove we had burning, a nice and warm place. Alternatively, place in an oven with the light on, or place in the oven kept warm at 85°F/30°C.
There are a few methods to make Paska glaze. The glaze needs to be thick enough to cover the top of the bread, with icing dripping down the sides.
Egg White Glaze is thick and glossy and is my preferred method. If you have concerns or health conditions, use the traditional milk method instead, or buy pasteurised eggs.
Finally, the glaze is topped with sprinkles. You can decorate the top with whatever you like, but move fast. The glaze sets quickly.
Egg White Glaze
- Beat one egg white until thick peaks form.
- While beating, slowly add 1½ cups of icing sugar and ½ teaspoon vanilla until mixed and smooth.
- Whisk 2 cups of icing sugar and 2 tablespoons of milk together.
- Add ½ teaspoon of vanilla extract.
Recipe Tips and FAQs
- Clear Vanilla - Paska glaze should be white, and vanilla slightly changes the color - Clear Vanilla keeps your glaze bright white
- Soak the Cranberries - place dried cranberries into warm water for 15 minutes. Drain the water and mix berries into the dough to add moisture to your bread
- Change the Chocolate - substitute with milk chocolate or ruby chocolate
- Double the Recipe - use different size coffee cans, with different heights to make different Paska bread, it looks really cool!
- Bake in Bread Pan - Paska bread can be baked in any loaf pan, while not traditional, it will still taste amazing
Can I Make Paska in Advance?
Paska Bread is best enjoyed 3-4 days after baking. For perfect timing, make it on Easter Saturday, and eat it on Easter Sunday and Easter Monday.
- Countertop - keep in an airtight container in your kitchen and use within 3-4 days
- Freezer - wrap unglazed Paska with cling wrap and place in a Ziploc bag. Use within 2-3 months of freezing. Defrost for a few hours before adding glaze
Easter Recipes You'll Love
- Paskha Cheesecake in a mold
- Dyeing Easter Eggs with Onion Skins
- Easy Bird's Nest Cookies
- Dyeing Blue Easter Eggs from Cabbage
- Breadmaker Kulich Recipe
- mixer with dough hook
- 1 cup milk lukewarm
- 1½ tablespoons yeast
- 4½ cups flour
- 3 eggs
- ¾ cup sugar
- ½ cup salted butter melted
- 1 teaspoon vanilla
- ¼ cup sour cream
- 1 cup white chocolate chips
- ¾ cup macadamia nuts chopped
- ¾ cup dried cranberries
Egg White Glaze
- 1½ cups icing sugar
- 1 egg white
- ½ teaspoon vanilla
- Dissolve the yeast into the lukewarm milk. The milk shouldn’t be hot. Mix in 1 tablespoon of sugar with 1 cup of flour. Cover and place in a warm place until it starts to bubble and activates. (about 15 minutes)
- In a separate bowl, beat eggs until they are fluffy. Add the sugar, melted butter, sour cream and vanilla. Beat until well combined.
- Pour in the yeast mixture, and add the remaining flour. Mix with a thick wooden spoon and use a dough hook on a mixer. You can also knead with your hands, but it’s very sticky. You can add more flour, but it will be a denser Paska.
- Cover and place in a warm spot until it rises, about 1 ½ - 2 hours.
- Punch down the dough, and mix in chocolate chips, cranberries and macadamia nuts.
- Grease the cans, silicone cylinder or molds with cooking spray. Fill the baking cylinder about halfway with the dough, but no higher than ⅔’s full. Cover with a towel, place in a warm place until the Paska rises near the top of the cylinder. Takes about 30-60 minutes.
- Place into a 350°F/180°C preheated oven on the lower rack. Bake for about 30 minutes, depending on the size of your container.
- Allow to cool on a baking rack to room temperature before adding icing.
Egg White Glaze
- Beat an egg white until thick peaks form. Then while beating, slowly add in the icing sugar and vanilla until mixed and smooth. Pour the glaze over the Paska and sprinkle with colorful candy sprinkles.
©PetersFoodAdventures.com *originally published March 2021, updated March 2023