Wednesday, April 27, 2011

Happy Easter or Easter bread baking

Hi, everybody! Thanks for stoping by! This is my Easter post. Sorry for a little delay, I had to sort a lot of photos :) So be patient, I'm going to show you a lot of photos. Pictures usually decribe everything much better then words. S0 first of all Happy Easter to all of you.
Hope you enjoyed this great holiday as much as I did. I spent it with my family in my small native town Pryluky, cooking, eating, walking, looking old family photos and doing other pleasunt things.
Before I write about how we cooked our Easter bread, I want to mention few pleasant things that were waiting for us at home.
First we enjoyed some radish-wild leek salad...
ate some nice cookies that my mom baked for us...
with our traditional herbal tea.
Then we've got a little bit of flower therapy. My mom bought some gourgeous white petunias to plant (we did that later).
And beautiful daffodils. They smelled fantastic.
And of course we enjoyed our cat's company. He definitely was happy lying in the sun. And his nose had exactly the same color as the pale pink stones on the tree near him. By the way, I want to introduce you my cat. His name is Kuzma and he is 16 years old. He is quite old for a cat, but, thanks God, he feels great and continues to make us happy with his cuteness.
One more lovely thing was my mom's crochet project. She's working on a crochet patchwork blanket. We had a lot of unused yarn at home, that is perfect for such thing as blanket.
Next day in the early morning we started cooking Easter bread - traditional in Ukraine, using our old family recipe. Such Easter bread is called "paska" ("паска") in Ukraine. Here is the recipe.
- milk (1 litre=33.8 oz.)
- sugar (5 glasses)
- eggs (5)
- active fresh compressed yeast (100 grams=3.5 oz.)
- flour (as much as the dought will take, aprox. 1 kg=2.2 lb)
- raisin (0.5 glass)

1. First we need to make a leaven. We need a big bowl. Put 5 glasses of sugar on the bottom.
Add yeast.
Add warm (not hot!) milk and mix well. Leave for 2 hours in a quiet warm place.
2. Separate egg white from the yolk. Add 5 yolks.
3. Add small portion of flour.
Mix well and continue adding small portiones of flour until dought won't stick to hands.
Note: It shouldn't be very tight, just don't stick to hands. Add raisin. Leave for few hours to let it grow about 1.5-2 times.
3. Split dought into small portions. Put each of them into separate baking pan, covered with oil. Beaten 1 yolk and cover the top of each bread with this mixture, using a brush.
4. Bake in the over at 120°C (250°F) for about 1-1.5 hours.
5. Prepare a glaze in such proportion: 200 grams (7 oz.) of sugar powder for 1 egg white. Beaten well and cover the top of each bread. You can also put some sprinkles or whatever you want on the top. I added some sprinkles, I showed you in the previous post.
This recipe isn't the easy one. It took us almost all day and we were very tired, but happy, cuz we've got 12 beautiful yammy Easter breads in fact and we've spent a great time all together with my mom and grandma, listening stories about grandma's childhood, how did they prepare to Easter and celebrate his holiday. I really loved that, especially the stories. I like history in general and of course I like my family's history. That's an important and very interesting topic for me, so I always enjoy such stories and I'm very grateful to my grandma for telling them.
Then traditionally we went to the church to bless our Easter food. We usually do this at 3 am on Easter Sunday. Here are some photos from the church.
You can see a lot of people standing with their Easter food (Easter bread, colored eggs, meat, salt, etc.) to bless it before eating after keeping a 40 days long fest. Few words about colored eggs. In Ukraine the traditional way of coloring eggs is using onion peel. Ukrainian women keep gather onion peel for some time before Easter. Eggs are boiled in water with a lot of onion peel, that's why they get intensive browny-red color. The color deepth depends on the time you boil eggs. It can be from 30 min to 1 hour.
After that we went home, ate our Easter food, tasted Easter bread - it was fabulous. Then we slept a bit and visited our grandma. She has a big collection of cactuses. Just look at this.
These two are just huge. They are about 10 years old.
This one is also nice. I had never seen such before.
And some more photos from our evening walking (I warned you, that I'm going to post a lot of photos :)). Enjoy!
I also have a great fruit & sour cream jelly recipe to share with you, but I guess that's too much for one post, so I'll write about it in the next one. See you soon!

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