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Katrusia’s Paska – Recipe

I already have several different Paska/Babka recipes that I tried and loved, but this one sparked my interest because it only requires 4 cups of flour to make two medium-sized Paska, hence perfect for a smaller family.

A friend of mine shared this recipe with me, so I baked it, loved it, and decided to post it for all of you who visit my blog and try my favorite recipes.

Wet and dry ingredients combined with a spoon in a bowl.


To prepare raisins:  Spread them on a plate to pick out and discard any dark ones, very dry ones, or dry stems.

These raisins have been picked over, rinsed, and are ready to use.  Leave them damp, so they don’t absorb much liquid from the batter.  Add raisins to the batter during the last 5 minutes of mixing (kneading).

I love my powerful Ankarsrum brand mixer to knead my dough for breads, rolls, babka and paska.

This recipe yields 2 round breads 7.5″ in diameter.

If you use smaller pans (5.5″ or so) it can yield 3-4 breads.

Katrusia’s Paska – Recipe

Katrusia’s Paska – Recipe


  • ¾ cup whole milk
  • 1/2 cup butter (1 stick=1/4 lbs)
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract
  • 1 tsp liquor (rum/cognac/etc.)
  • 2 tsp lemon zest
  • 2 tsp orange zest
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 2 packets dry yeast (4 ½ teaspoons = 14 g= .5oz) I used Fleishmann's Rapid Rise
  • 2 tsp sugar
  • ½ cup warm water (110 degrees F.)
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 4 cups All-Purpose Flour (I used 2 cups Gold Medal unbleached flour and 2 cups King Arthur bread flour)
  • 1-2 cup raisins (picked over and rinsed)


  1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk, butter and sugar until hot and the butter is melted. Let it cool down. Add the vanilla, liquor, lemon and orange zest. Set aside.
  2. In a large mixing bowl, beat the egg yolks until creamy. Set aside.
  3. In a medium bowl, add the warm water and mix in the sugar and yeast until dissolved. Let it rest for about 10 minutes until it is bubbly.
  4. Into the creamy eggs, slowly add the cooled milk/butter mixture and blend until combined, then gently fold in the yeast mixture.
  5. In a separate bowl sift the flour and salt, and gradually add it to the creamy mixture, mixing it with a spoon to incorporate.
  6. Transfer the sticky dough into a mixer equipped with a paddle or dough hook.
  7. Mix it on medium speed for 15-20 minutes.
  8. If you plan to use raisins, add them to the dough during the last 5 minutes of mixing.
  9. Remove onto a lightly floured work area and knead it for a couple of minutes.
  10. If you do not have a mixer, then knead your dough by hand for about 20 minutes.
  11. Lightly oil a medium size glass or plastic bowl and place the dough in it, turning it once to oil both sides.
  12. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel and let the dough rise in a warm, draft-free place for at least 1 hour, or until double in bulk.
  13. Punch down and place on a lightly floured surface.
  14. Divide the dough into 2 equal portions for 2 loaves, or more if you are using smaller baking pan.
  15. If you plan to decorate your paska, remove at least 1/2 cup of dough and set aside before filling your pans.
  16. Grease well the bottom and sides of your baking pans. (I use Crisco vegetable shortening)
  17. Shape each dough piece to a round ball, tucking the sides under so the top is nice and smooth and place them in the pans. Press gently with your fingers to fill the bottom of the pan.
  18. Cover with a cotton dish towel and place in a warm spot to rise almost to the rim of the pan. (I keep it in an oven which I preheated to 80-100 degrees F then turned it off).
  19. Meanwhile use the remaining dough to form a cross and other ornaments for the paska and place them on top of each round loaf, at least an inch away from the edges to allow for expansion during baking.
  20. Keep it covered and rising for at least 20-30 minutes, until the dough almost reaches the top of the pan.
  21. Brush the bread tops and decoration with a beaten egg yolk and 1 teaspoon water for a darker crust finish, or with sweet cream or milk for a lighter color crust.
  22. Bake in a pre-heated oven at 350 degrees for 15 minutes, then reduce heat to 325 degrees and bake for another 25-30 minutes.
  23. If your loaves are browning too quickly, place a large piece of aluminum foil loosely over the breads and leave them on for the remaining time of baking.
  24. Remove the pans from the oven and rest them on a cooling rack. Use a cold stick of butter to generously baste the tops of the bread and decorations. Use a pastry brush to spread the melted butter evenly.
  25. Let the breads cool in the pans for about 5 minutes then remove from pans and cool off completely on a cooling rack.
  26. Cover with a cotton kitchen towel while cooling. Do not slice the bread until totally cooled off.
  27. To freeze, wrap the cooled bread in a paper towel, then aluminum foil, then in a plastic bag, and it will keep its freshness for up to 3 months.
  28. To thaw, keep it in the fridge in the original wrapping for at least one day before use.


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