|EVERY FEW MINUTES|
|PASCHA - EASTER SWEET BREAD|
3 pkgs. active dry yeast
2 1/2 c. warm water
2 c. flour
4 lg. eggs + 2 egg yolks, well beaten
7 1/2 c. flour
3/4 c. sugar
1/3 c. melted butter
2 tsp. salt
Poppy seeds (& raisins, see note)
Dissolve yeast in warm water, add 2 cups of flour and blend well. This coats the yeast and helps it to develop.
Mix in sugar, melted butter, salt, eggs and additional flour, a little at a time. Knead well until dough is no longer sticky and springs back when lightly poked. Let rise in a covered bowl in a warm place, free from drafts, about 1 1/2 hours or until dough is tripled in size. Punch dough down.
Take 1/2 the amount of dough you want the size of the Pascha to be. Knead lightly and shape into a ball. Put in a greased round pan. Take a bit of leftover dough, roll out 2 pencil thin strips, shape as a cross and place atop the Pascha with a little water on the bottom of the strips to glue them to the top. Rest of the dough may be divided into 9 strips, braided three together to make one loaf, other three for second loaf and last three for third loaf, place each in an 8" or 9" loaf pan. Cover all pans and let rise until doubled, 30 to 45 minutes.
Brush tops lightly with mixture of 1 egg yolk and 1 teaspoon cold water. Sprinkle lightly with poppy seeds. Bake at 375 degrees for 25 to 30 minutes, until bread has turned a golden brown and sounds hollow when lightly tapped on the bottom.
NOTE: Raisins may be added with the last addition of flour. They can be made soft and fluffy by soaking them in warm water for 30 minutes before use. Drain well and dust lightly with flour before adding to mixture.
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