Saturday, September 8, 2007

Polkrainianish Paska Bread???

I read somewhere that making bread with your own hands is supposed to be good for your soul. I have no idea whether or not that's true, but I do know that baking bread with faulty cooking equipment bought from Dollar-ama is a rather educational experience.

I'll say this: Just because the dry measures you bought from Dollarama say "1 cup" and "250 mL," don't assume that they actually measure out to "1 cup" and "250 mL." I was a bit dubious, as the measuring cups looked rather large, but I figured that I just didn't remember how large a cup was. But no. My measuring cups are indeed the wrong size. (As confirmed by comparision to non-dollar store equipment.) Which explains the large extra amount of flour that I could not coax the dough into accepting.

The Paska Bread recipe I found here at Besides having halved the recipe, I also didn't have any lemon zest. Now for everything else I've been making so far, I've been substituting green chilies for whatI don't have, but don't worry. I didn't do that here[1].

Instead I used Chinese 5-spice powder. Hopefully that is less horrifying to you.

As I was randomly googling"paska bread" during one of the (four) rising periods[2], I saw references to Paska bread being both Polish and Ukrainian (and Russian). The recipe I found says Polish although Wikipedia says Ukrainian. Whatever they are, it seems like they're often decorated with braids, so I decided to try and do that as well.

[My shaped loaf with decorative braid- prefinal rise]

[the shaped loaf after baking - yeah, I ripped off the braid and ate it practically as soon as I took it out of the oven, as per the picture up top]

The recipe called for 45-50 baking minutes to make 3 large loaves, but as I cut the recipe in half, and made four mini-loaves out of that half, I only baked it for around 22 minutes. I think it could bake a little longer, but not too much, because the braid on top was starting to get too brown for my liking.

As for how I liked the bread, I thought that the taste was a little bland - I thought that the bread would be much sweeter, more like chinese chan bao, however the texture was amazing! Right out of the oven the top was crispy, and the inside was soft, light and steamy. If I make this again (and I might, even though I still have three miniloaves in my freezer right now), I will probably put more flavouring in it - I don't think the couple shakes of 5-spice powder made up for the flavour you'd get with lemon zest.

[freezing the three other loaves - along with my frozen packets of rice!]

NOTE: I've eaten two more of these loaves - after taking the loaves out of the freezer, all you need to do is microwave them on 10% power for 8 minutes, let it sit for 10 minutes, and then microwave it again for 8 minutes at 10% power. It will defrost and expand at the same time, and then you can bake it. It tastes better with savoury things (like cheese) because then the slight sweetness comes out.
[1] Yet another reference to my never-ending attempt to finish off the pack of green chilies I got from Koreatown. But on that note, is there such thing as a spicy sweet bread? And if there was, would it be any good? I mean, I like red chili jam...

[2] I had assumed, like an idiot, without fully reading the recipe, that it would only involve two rising periods. But yeah. This bread actually required four rising periods.

No comments: