paskaEaster is one of my favorite holidays, because of its rich traditions.  One of these is the blessing of a basket of special foods which becomes the Easter Sunday brunch, being the first meat meal, after a strict fast on Good Friday and Saturday.  One of the special foods in that basket is a round shaped Easter Bread, called Paska in Ukrainian, or Babka in Polish.  The top of this bread is elaborately decorated with fancy dough ornaments, having a cross as the central motif. Here is my family Paska recipe, which makes two large loaves, or several small ones.


  • 1 tsp. sugar
  • 1 cup lukewarm water
  • 1 package dry granular yeast
  • 3 cups scalded whole milk, lukewarm
  • 5 cups of flour
  • 6 eggs, beaten
  • 1 cup sugar
  • ½ cup melted butter
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 1 Tbs. orange zest
  • 1 tsp. lemon zest
  • 6 cups of sifted all purpose flour


  1. Dissolve the sugar in the lukewarm water and sprinkle the yeast over it.
  2. Let it stand for 10 minutes.
  3. Combine the softened yeast with the lukewarm milk and 5 cups of flour.
  4. Beat well until smooth.
  5. Cover and let the batter rise in a warm place until light and bubbly (I place it on a heating pad, and cover it with plastic wrap, then with towels, to keep it warm).
  6. Add the beaten eggs, sugar, melted butter, salt, and orange and lemon zest.
  7. Mix thoroughly.
  8. Stir in enough flour to make dough that is neither too soft nor too stiff.
  9. Knead until the dough no longer sticks to the hand.
  10. Turn the dough on a floured board, or other work surface, and knead until smooth and satiny.
  11. Place in a bowl, cover, and let it rise in a warm place until double in bulk.
  12. Punch down and let it rise again.
  13. Prepare your loaf pans by thoroughly greasing them with shortening.
  14. Divide the dough into 3 parts, if you have large enough pans to make only two loaves, and leave the third part for ornamental decorations.
  15. If you wish to make several small breads, then fill your greased pans 1/3 full with the dough, still leaving some dough for decorations.
  16. To make ornaments, one of them being the cross, you roll out some dough into a rope like shape and form it into an ornamental cross to place in the middle of the top of the bread.
  17. making-a-braid-for-paska-decorating1 ornamental-cross-for-paska2

    You can also make other ornamental decorations for your Paska, such as a braids, rosettes, twisted swirls, cones, etc.

    swirle-twists-for-paska1 braid-and-cross-on-paska

  18. Now that your loaves are decorated, dip a pastry brush in whole milk, and gently brush the bread tops, and ornaments, to give them a nice golden color once baked.  For a darker shade, you may use a wash made out of one egg beaten with 2 Tbs. of water.
  19. Set the loaves in a warm place, once more, until almost double in bulk.
  20. Do not let the loaves rise longer than necessary, because the ornaments will lose their shape.
  21. Preheat you oven to 400 degrees, and bake the bread for 10 minutes.
  22. Lower the temperature to 350 degrees, and bake for 30 minutes longer, or until done.
  23. For smaller loaves your baking time should be shorter, so you need to use your judgment.
  24. To prevent over browning of the tops, you may cover them with loose pieces of aluminum foil, once the Paska is lightly browned.
  25. Remove the loves from the pans, and cool completely.
  26. You may wrap cooled loaves in aluminum foil, and plastic bag, and freeze until ready to use, to keep them fresh.
  27. To thaw, keep covered, to prevent from drying out.

Tip: If you like raisins in your bread, you may add 1-2 cups of golden raisins to your dough, and you need to make sure to push them deeper into the dough before baking, or they will burn if sticking out of the bread.

Share This Post:
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • StumbleUpon
  • Facebook
  • Google
  • Print this article!
  • Reddit

No related posts.

Tagged with: , , ,

65 Responses

  1. Suzy

    April 11th, 2009 at 4:13 pm


    My grandmother made this same bread each year, and my aunts now follow her traditions. Yours look beautiful!
    Happy Easter!!

  2. Suburban Grandma

    April 12th, 2009 at 9:50 pm


    Happy Easter to you Suzy, and to your family!!
    Making this bread adds such a special touch to our Easter celebration, and my daughter now is also continuing this tradition.

  3. Diana

    April 12th, 2009 at 10:26 pm


    Happy Easter!! WOW that bread looks great. I love right out of the oven or toaster warm bread! For one Easter a few yrs back I went to a friends house and her mom had made bread where there were holes in the top to lay the Easter Egg in after it was cooked!

  4. Suburban Grandma

    April 13th, 2009 at 8:28 pm


    Thank you Diana. I hope your Easter was Blessed as well.
    Wow, that sounds like a great idea, to make a bread which can be adorned by Easter Eggs, after it’s baked.

  5. Diana

    April 16th, 2009 at 8:50 pm


    Hi again! I saw these Easter eggs and thought of you. Arent they beautiful?!

  6. Suburban Grandma

    April 16th, 2009 at 9:52 pm


    I just checked out the link you provided me with. Thank you.
    Yes, these Polish Easter Eggs are really nice. Have you noticed the difference in design style and color choices, between the Polish and the Ukrainian Eggs? I noticed there was a Star of David Egg as well. Egg decorating is such a wonderful art.

  7. D.marie

    April 17th, 2009 at 1:40 am


    Yes she noted that the star of david was for her jewish husband…how cute and thoughtful! It seems as if the Ukrainian Eggs are more detailed and probably take long hours to complete. Both are very beautiful though.

  8. Suburban Grandma

    April 17th, 2009 at 9:44 pm


    Yes, that was very thoughtful….I am sure he is very proud of her.
    I think all egg decorating requires lots of time and patience, and the more intricate the design the longer it takes to complete it.

  9. D.marie

    April 17th, 2009 at 10:58 pm


    Hi again!! Thanks so much for the beautiful compliment you left about my Easter cards! I sent one to my future Mother-in-law and she told my fiance that it was so beautiful and thoughtful that she wants to frame it!! AWW!! :)

  10. Suburban Grandma

    April 19th, 2009 at 4:26 pm


    I think you scored a point in your favor, with your mother-in-law, with your Easter cards, and rightfully so. You did a super job indeed!

  11. Tricia

    March 29th, 2010 at 1:26 pm


    Help! I’m making Paska for the first time, for blessing this Saturday. What kind (size) of loaf pans do you use? Thanks for the recipe. Your designs are beautiful! Christ is risen!

  12. Suburban Grandma

    March 29th, 2010 at 8:36 pm


    Traditional Ukrainian Paska for blessing should be a round shape, and the sides need to be taller than regular cake pans. I actually found three stackable round pans: 6 3/4” x 3”, 6 1/2” x 2 3/4”, and 5 1/2” x 2 1/2”. If you do not have round pans that are at least that size and height, you can use coffee cans, like those from Folgers or Maxwell House, but you need to line them up with brown paper like the one from paper grocery bags. You will need to cut a rectangle that is slightly longer than the circumference of the can and about 1 inch taller than the can. Also cut out a round circle for the bottom of the can. You will need to grease the can so the paper sticks to it and the paper from the inside so the dough does not stick to it. You can also use metal mixing bowls, which also work out nicely. If you are not using the same size pans, the smaller ones will have to be taken out sooner, of course, than the larger ones. I always cover my paska with foil paper as soon as it turns golden color, then it still brows more as it bakes.

  13. allan j s

    March 31st, 2010 at 12:52 pm


    i love cooking and i think i’m quite good at it , so i’d like to offer a suggestion. i’ve tried it and it works excellent, get a good quality ceramic flower pot , use a touch of olive oil and bake your paska. it works well plus it gives you the beautiful shape you want…..

  14. Suburban Grandma

    March 31st, 2010 at 9:36 pm


    Thank you so much for the wonderful suggestion on using a ceramic flower pot as a vessel for baking a paska. I read about clay pots for cooking and baking, so it does make sense. I actually will have to try this one, to test the length of time it takes for the paska to bake, if there is any difference between this pot and regular metal pot.

  15. Evelyn Jepson

    February 7th, 2011 at 2:12 pm


    Since Open Window Bakery closed in Ontario, Canada, our source of Paska went with it. Future Bakery makes one, but it tastes funny. So we don’t buy it at all.
    Am looking to get a recipe for Paska, to make a few for our consumption.

  16. Suburban Grandma

    February 7th, 2011 at 5:53 pm


    I’m sorry to hear about your bakery closing down. But, this might give you a chance to try making your own Paska. The only hard thing about it is that it takes so much time, due to the slow process of the dough rising twice. This Paska recipe is very suitable for Easter Sunday brunch, since it is not that sweet, so really tasty with the meats.
    Please let me know how it turns out for you. I’m sure it will be a big success.

  17. Treadmill Traci

    April 5th, 2011 at 4:01 pm


    Thanks for the post! My grandma used to make these and i had to search forever to find the right recipe! Thanks again:)

  18. Suburban Grandma

    April 5th, 2011 at 8:29 pm


    Thank you for stopping by and leaving a comment.
    I hope you will like this recipe. It is mine, and my family’s favorite. Not too sweet and fairly simple. You can also form it into loafs, like Raisin Bread.

  19. Lisa Chimiak

    April 13th, 2011 at 12:49 pm


    How do you get the bread to rise so high in the center as in the picture? They’re beautiful.

  20. Suburban Grandma

    April 13th, 2011 at 5:48 pm


    Making Paska is a long process due to the double rising of the dough before filling the pans, and then letting it rise again in the pans until it doubles or sometimes even higher. Once you place the pans in the oven, the dough rises even more…the wonderful power of yeast. I also use double acting yeast, most of the time, as it helps with quicker rising. Since the braided wreath is weighing the paska down around the edges, the middle still continue to rise.

  21. Tina Parrish

    April 19th, 2011 at 11:11 am


    Thank you for the recipe it is very close to one I lost that came from my Ukrainian Grandmother. Do you know what the braid around the bread stands for I seem to have forgotten. Thanks.

  22. Suburban Grandma

    April 19th, 2011 at 9:27 pm


    Thank you for visiting and leaving comments.
    I am sure there are many different interpretations of the various ornaments on paska, but I have been told that paska represents the Living Bread – Jesus Christ, the cross placed in the middle of the bread represents the cross Jesus dies on for our salvation, and the braid around the paska represents the thorn crown Jesus had placed on his head before his crucifixion. If anyone is aware of different interpretations, I would be very interested in hearing about them. Thank you.

  23. Lisa Chimiak

    April 20th, 2011 at 12:53 pm


    Your paskas above are gorgeous! My mom used to make them and now that she’s gone I do. They’re good, but I still miss my mom’s. My family and I love when they come out denser (heavier & chewier) because then they hold up well to spreading with butter, but mine always seem to come out too airy and they crumble. I’ve tried more eggs, less eggs (like they say if you want chewier brownies to add less eggs / cakelike, more eggs) and even some eggs + some egg yolks, but I can never quite get them to come out as the chewier version. Any suggestions?

  24. Lisa Chimiak

    April 20th, 2011 at 1:16 pm


    Also, I forgot to ask… why do you use dry yeast as opposed to cake yeast? I’ve never used dry.

  25. tina

    April 20th, 2011 at 7:19 pm


    where did you find the porcelain/enamel straight sided “bowls” you list as your favorite?? i am wanting to bake this bread.


  26. Suburban Grandma

    April 20th, 2011 at 9:46 pm


    Since I do not know your recipe I am not able to give you exact suggestions. The paska recipe I posted is not very airy, and the butter (at room temperature) spreads very nicely. Sometimes I use half of the butter and the other half I use oil. Oil will keep it more together, rather than all butter. Maybe your recipe is more for a babka, rather than paska, so it tends to be more airy. Try my recipe and see if you like it better. Happy Easter!

  27. Suburban Grandma

    April 20th, 2011 at 9:48 pm


    I actually never use fresh yeast, since all my recipes call for dry yeast. Lately I have been using double acting dry yeast, so the dough rises faster, and it works well fo me.

  28. Suburban Grandma

    April 20th, 2011 at 9:51 pm


    I found these in a small kitchen specialty store, a long time ago, but I have been looking for more, and can’t find any either. Did you know you can use coffee cans lined with heavy packing paper, well greased, and extending about 1-2 inches over the top of the can. I used to use those before I found these containers. If you find any other ones resembling these, I will post about it, but so far I had no luck.

  29. Tony

    April 21st, 2011 at 7:46 am


    This is the best paska I have ever made. I especially liked the ideas for decorating the top. Everyone should try the bread.

  30. Natalie

    April 21st, 2011 at 7:58 am


    I love your recipes!

    How many teaspoons or tablespoons of yeast are needed? I only know my yeast comes in 7g sachets, is it one 7g sachet?

    Many Thanks

  31. Suburban Grandma

    April 21st, 2011 at 6:35 pm


    Congratulations!!! I am so glad your paska came out nicely, and you are enjoying it. Thank you for leaving a lovely comment. Happy Easter!

  32. Suburban Grandma

    April 21st, 2011 at 6:38 pm


    Very good question, thank you.
    The yeast packet I am using is 7g.
    Happy baking!
    Happy Easter!

  33. Natalie

    April 22nd, 2011 at 8:24 am


    Thanks so much for getting back to me, I have cooked your paska and taking it to the Ukrainain church for blessing tomorrow, so yummy it really reminded me of the paska my nan who came from Ukraine used to cook for us, she is sadly missed by us all and we sadly never wrote down her recipe, its fabo your recipe is a really lovely and reminds me of her.

    Happy Easter & Krystos Voskres!

  34. Suburban Grandma

    April 22nd, 2011 at 4:36 pm


    Oh, I am so proud of you, and I bet your family will love your paska. We will be blessing our paska tomorrow as well.
    Khrystos Voskres – Voistynu Voskres! – to you and your family.

  35. Rebounding Master

    May 19th, 2011 at 1:49 pm


    This bread looks amazing!! It looks so delicious it makes my stomach grumble. The finished product is better than any you see in the special bakery’s. I can’t wait to try out this recipe.

  36. Suburban Grandma

    May 19th, 2011 at 7:23 pm


    Thank you so much for your wonderful comments.
    I’m sure you will love this bread, not to mention the aroma of fresh bread filling up the whole house during baking time.

  37. Kennedy

    May 24th, 2011 at 10:21 am


    Not too sure if one can use Terra cotta pots, I did buy some to have little kids make their small individual sized Easter Babka, which is a sweet dough with raisins. In googling this, found that it may not be a safe practice due to unknown substance in the pots, etc etc! Yes, I know I have seen pictures of these pots being used in old cookbooks. I love the shape of the breads once baked in these flowerpots. Martha Stewart’s site suggests that only the pots that she has in her store are safe. Definitely painted pots are unsafe due to possible lead in paint.

  38. Suburban Grandma

    May 24th, 2011 at 10:56 pm


    I would definitely not use any terra cotta pots treated with anything, but rather in their natural state. I know of restaurants that bake their small breads in the type of bakeware, scoop out the middle of the bread, and sever soup in the bread shell, still remaining in the posts. I would advice to buy these pots from a reputable manufacturer, who complies with all the requirements.
    Thank you for your comments.

  39. evary

    May 25th, 2011 at 8:03 pm


    I tried this recipe today for my son’s class and it turned out really nice. THanks!

  40. calgary dentist

    May 25th, 2011 at 8:05 pm


    By the way, can anyone tell me how to make the birds easily? I want to give each student a bird to take home – thanks1

  41. evary

    May 26th, 2011 at 1:01 pm


    I made 2 batches of the birds and they turned out beautiful! The second batch turned out nicer than the first because I added a little water. I`m going to put a bird on each little paska bun so everyone student gets to go home with one. My son and is so excited. Thanks for the great instructions!

  42. Suburban Grandma

    May 26th, 2011 at 10:05 pm


    That is such a rewarding experience. Thank you for sharing your successful story.

  43. Suburban Grandma

    May 26th, 2011 at 10:09 pm


    I was just about to reply to your previous comment, since you were searching for recipe for bread birds, which I also posted, but it sounds like you found it yourself, and had a successful completion of the project. Good for you…I am so proud of you.
    Thank you for sharing.

  44. Hotel Surmeli

    June 3rd, 2011 at 6:02 am


    Искам да се включа по темата съвсем накратко. Според мен всичко въпрос на личен вкус и мнение независимо за какво говорим. Аз лично просто гледам винаги да съм оптимист и това ми помага. Надявам, се и вие споделяте моето мнение :))) Поздрави за хубавата статия! Хубави дни и бъдете винаги усмихнати :))

  45. Suburban Grandma

    June 3rd, 2011 at 9:47 pm


    Thank you so much for your comments.
    Please stop by any time.

  46. Matthias

    August 12th, 2011 at 9:10 am


    Great post,”i like” :-)


  47. Suburban Grandma

    August 12th, 2011 at 4:37 pm


    Thank you.

  48. Michael

    April 5th, 2012 at 9:08 am


    I remember making the paska (and easter eggs) with my grandmother in my youth. Somehow we always seem to consume more raisins then those that made it into the bread. Good memories & excellent recipe. Thank you.

  49. Suburban Grandma

    April 5th, 2012 at 1:02 pm


    Eating raisins does brings back memories for me as well. We used to fish them out of already sliced paska….leaving behind little holes in the bread. It was lots of fun, for sure.

  50. Suburban Grandma

    April 5th, 2012 at 1:08 pm


    Thank you very much for stopping by, leaving a comment and linking the Passover Lasagna to your post.
    I just checked out your blog and will visit again, for sure.
    Enjoy your merrymaking time.

  51. Amy

    April 6th, 2012 at 8:33 pm


    With my Ukrainian mother-in-law ill and 6 hours away, I made paska for the first time today. (I’m “American”.) Thank you thank you thank you for your recipe and for the detailed description of what I could bake the paska in. They didn’t turn out as pretty as yours, but considering it was my first time baking bread, I’m happy they’re edible. Voistynu Voskres!

  52. Suburban Grandma

    April 6th, 2012 at 10:37 pm


    I am so proud of you!! You are such a nice lady to bake paska for your family, to keep up with the Ukrainian tradition. You should also be very proud of yourself for taking up this time consuming task, but in the end it is so worth it. The whole house smells so sweet of the paska aroma, and everyone will love your paska, I am sure of that. We tried several different recipes, and my family loves this one the best.
    Khrystos Voskres. Voistynu Voskres.
    Happy Easter to your whole family. Hope your mother-in-law will feel better soon. She must be so proud of you as well.

  53. SARIKA

    February 27th, 2013 at 5:01 pm


    I have pans which are 8 x 3 aluminum. I have baked a paska using this one and it came out beautifully. No cracks or splits. My late aunt gave me a white enamel pan which is a bit bigger…that one split near the top.

    My recipe calls for 10 cups of flour. If I use three of the 8 x 3 do you think that would be enough for the the 8 x 3 pans?

    Your explanation is wonderful and the best I’ve seen.

  54. Suburban Grandma

    February 27th, 2013 at 9:06 pm


    The total flour in my recipe is 10-11 cups (5 to start it and 5-6 to form the actual dough), so basically the same as yours.
    Since you fill the baking pans 1/3 full, you should have enough dough for your pans. You can also divide your dough into 3 equal parts, this way all your paska’s will be the same size. Wish you success with your paska baking.

  55. Maria

    March 19th, 2013 at 2:06 am


    I’m going to bake some soon. I miss Ukrainian Easter

  56. Suburban Grandma

    March 19th, 2013 at 5:38 pm


    I love the Ukrainian Easter traditions, with all the special foods and Paska, and Basket Blessing. I feel so lucky to be part of it all.
    Good luck with the baking.

  57. Kelley

    March 22nd, 2013 at 7:31 pm


    Is the lemon and orange flavoring noticeable in the Paska? And, is it always in Paska bread? I have found other recipes that do not call for either. I want Paska similar, but better of course, to the kind you get in a good bakery.

  58. Suburban Grandma

    March 22nd, 2013 at 9:55 pm


    The lemon flavoring is quite noticeable in the Paska, giving it a very fresh aroma. The orange is less noticeable, but maybe it’s aroma is lighter and the lemon overcomes it. They do make the Paska bread smell so delicious. This paska bread is light and airy, but not very sweet, which I like, since it goes so well with the ham and kobasa. To me, it is better tasting that Challa bread. I tried other paska recipes, and my family likes this one the most.I would love to hear your opinion regarding the taste and texture of these paska.

  59. Kelley

    March 23rd, 2013 at 10:47 am


    Thank you so much for the quick response! I am going to make it for Easter. One more question…I may make one loaf with raisins. Should I add the raisins when I add the zest?
    I enjoy making bread…I find it to be a challenge. If you would like to try a fabulous white bread…go to All Recipes and search up the Amish White Bread recipe. It is absolutely delicious. Again thank you so much and I will post after the holiday! Have a wonderful holiday!

  60. Suburban Grandma

    March 25th, 2013 at 9:28 pm


    I add the raisins once I add the remaining flour to the sponge, and get ready to knead the dough.
    This recipe is so easy, you will love your paska,

  61. Lynn T

    March 26th, 2013 at 11:52 pm


    Hello, I spent childhood Easters at my grandparents home in a wee village of Pennsylvania coal country. My grandmother made paska, hrudka, hrin and more. We prepared a basket filled with all the parts of our Easter dinner and took it to church to be blessed. After my grandmother passed away and families scattered, I determined to make paska myself. While I have made them for years now, I never seem to get them to taste like hers, although the smell of them baking sends me back in time! Hers always had a braid around the edge with a cross in the center and then in each quadrant, bent “nails” to represent the resurrection.

    I wanted to say how lovely your paskas are. We never had my grandmothers recipe and I never saw her make paska dough because we traveled from afar to arrive to visit, but your paska recipe looks quite close to what may have been hers. It is nearly identical to one I have from an old newspaper clipping in which a recipe from Savella Stechishin ” Traditional Ukrainian Cookery” was featured. The recipe however does not call for citrus, and it says one Tablespoon of salt, 1/3 cup sugar, and to add 9 to 10 cups flour to finalize the dough (I don’t think I have ever needed that much…) But sadly I am not a paska expert and I do not know if I’m doing it all right. Every year it is a different story it seems.

    Thank you for sharing your your knowledge about the paska. I am sorry this is so long! Khrystos voskres!

  62. Allyson

    March 31st, 2013 at 5:50 pm


    Hey everyone! I tried to make some paska this year as I have moved far from home and can’t have my grandma’s for the holidays (also made some other yummy Ukrainian stuff). Overall I did pretty well, but my paska just isn’t coming out right! The flavor is good, but the bread itself is dense and a little too “wet” not dry and airy like nanny’s…..she doesn’t write any recipes down so I’ve been going online and trying to match it to what my mom says, but they aren’t sure why mine is so dense. Any ideas???

  63. Suburban Grandma

    April 1st, 2013 at 5:42 pm


    I assume you tried this recipe, hence the comment. I make my paska exactly as posted, and it comes out quite light and airy. You are not adding more flour than the recipe calls for, correct?
    You knead long enough until the dough separates easily from the sides of the pan and your hand, right? You do let it rise in pan all the way to the top, before putting it in the oven? You bake it long enough to be done (200 degrees F internal temp), and let it cool completely before cutting? If you follow all that then your paska should be light and airy. Also, you will get get better with time, so don’t give up yet. You have the taste perfected ,now you just need to concentrate on the technique.
    Thank you for your comments. Good luck with paska baking.

  64. Marie Kowalchuk

    May 4th, 2013 at 1:39 am


    My mother is now too old and frail to make the traditional paska so for the past three years I have taken over using her original recipe and other ones over time. I have found many recipes on the internet and yours is the next one to try as it sounds and looks wonderful. My problem is that every time I bake paska, every one of them split and crack. Doesn’t matter what recipe I use, I get same problem. It seems I have inherited my mother’s problem because her paskas used to do the same thing!! Any idea what causes the spitting and cracking?

  65. Suburban Grandma

    May 4th, 2013 at 6:34 am


    You may check out this link for some great advice:

    Also, if your paska did not rise enough (double in bulk) before baking, it will tend to crack easier, because the hot oven temp makes it rise so quickly.
    Sufficient kneading is also important to the way your paska will rise and its texture.
    Maybe you are overfilling your pans??? I fill about 1/3 of each baking container.
    If you follow my paska recipe and directions, your paska should come out as good, or better, than mine.
    Please keep us posted and share a picture.
    Happy Easter.

RSS feed for comments on this post · TrackBack URI

Leave a reply

CommentLuv badge