Category: Kitchen

How to Make Traditional Easter Bread

Paska and I go way back. Though it is traditionally an Easter bread, my grandmother made it year round. She must have made it twice a week; she just couldn’t keep it in the house. Everybody who paid her a visit knew exactly where to look for a loaf of freshly baked paska. We ate it buttered and served with a meal. We toasted it and added butter or jelly. My grandfather liked it with his eggs or to make a sandwich. My daughter, Jordan, from the age of two, liked to dip it in “angel coffee”, a concoction invented by my Gram when she babysat Jordan.

Two years ago on, Good Friday, my Gram passed away. In the years before she died, I was lucky enough to have spent a lot of time with her. She taught me lots of things, including how to make paska. I’ve had many practice sessions, making it with her, and I now plan to teach it to my own daughter when she’s old enough.

It’s pretty easy to make, especially if you have a good stand mixer with a dough hook. My Gram always said, “It’s so easy. It’s only four things.” In truth it’s more than four, but she looked at it like this:

1) 4 cup measure:

Mix about ¾ c. warm (not hot) water; 2 tsp. sugar; 2 packets quick rise yeast

Cover loosely amp; let rise to about the top of 4 cup measure

2) large bowl:

Sift together 8 c. flour; 1 c. sugar; 1 tsp. salt

3) small bowl:

2 beaten eggs

4) small saucepan

2 c. milk, scalded and still hot; 1 stick butter, cut in pieces

Once milk is scalded, remove from heat and add butter; let melt

To make the paska in your mixer, allow the milk/butter to cool enough to not kill the yeast. Pour the warm milk/butter mixture into your mixer bowl. Add the yeast mixture, making sure to scrape the sides of the cup. Begin mixing on low speed with a beater.

Add a little of the flour mixture and blend until you have a batter-like consistency. Keep adding flour a little at a time until it begins to form a soft dough.

Change to your dough hook, making sure to scrape the beater.

“That’s another slice of paska,” my Gram would say.

Pour in the beaten eggs and mix with the dough hook on a Cuisinart stand mixer. Add remaining flour until a nice dough forms and it begins to pull away from the sides; continue to knead in mixer for several minutes.

Turn dough out onto floured board and knead by hand into a nice ball. Lightly grease the inside of your mixer bowl and place the dough back in. Put the whole mixer bowl into a large clean kitchen trash bag. Twist the bag shut, trapping some air inside, and twist-tie it. Let rise in a warm/sunny place for about two hours, or until about doubled.

After the dough has risen, remove it from the bowl and punch it down. Use a sharp, non-serrated knife to slice dough into three equal pieces for traditional round pans (about 8″ diameter), or four pieces for loaf pans. Grease pans with butter before adding dough.

Knead each piece into a ball and place it into a pan. Place all pans back inside the plastic bag and close. Let the dough rise a second time, until it comes to the tops of the pans, about one hour.

While you are waiting, beat an egg in a small bowl and add a few teaspoons of cold coffee. This will be used to coat the tops of the loaves. The coffee helps brown the tops.

Preheat oven to 350º. When the dough has risen the second time, remove from bags. Take a sharp knife and gently poke any air bubbles that have formed on the surface. Now stick your clean fingertips into the egg/coffee mixture and gently rub a thin coating over the top of each loaf.

Bake for 30 minutes.

Remove from oven and shake to loosen. Cool slightly, then remove to rack to cool completely.

Store paska in plastic bags, if you can keep it around that long. Makes 3-4 loaves.

L’Equip FilterPro Food Dehydrator Review

If you’re one of those kitchen-freaks that just love experimenting with new foods and recipes, you are going to love the L’Equip FilterPro Food Dehydrator!

L’Equip FilterProWhy should you dehydrate your food?

There are plenty of good reasons. First of all, you will be able to preserve your food for longer without worrying when it’s going to turn into an uneatable mush. The dried food will retain nearly all (90%) of its nutrients, perfectly preserved and ready for a later consumption. When you wish to do so, you can always re-hydrate it and the food will be as fresh as new. You’ve got some leftovers? You can simply dehydrate them and they can be served as a delicious meal even several days later!

Alright, so how does the L’Equip FilterPro Food Dehydrator work?

This L’Equip FilterPro Dehydrator comes with 6 square-shaped trays (of which 2 are slightly larger) that can be expandable up to 20 trays. Of course, you have to buy these separately and stack them on top one another. The trays cover a total drying area of 7.2 square feet, which is more than enough space to satisfy even the biggest requirements. Most people prefer square-shaped trays to circular ones because of the better space utilization. They can also be easily removed for cleaning and maintenance.

The 530W motor fan is mounted at the bottom of the dehydrator, sending the heat flow vertically upwards through the trays and drying the food evenly and efficiently.

A sensitive, integrated micro-processor is responsible for regulating and adjusting the temperature every 10 seconds and ensuring the drying process always goes as planned!

How is the ‘FilterPro’ model different from other L’Equip dehydrators?

The answer is hidden within the name itself. FilterPro model features a unique filtration system which first filters the air and then heats it and sends it vertically upwards through the trays. This ensures a top quality dried food for you and your family.

A built-in thermostat is great for setting the desired temperature (from 95 to 155 degrees Fahrenheit) and the sensitive micro-processor will make sure the temperature always stays the same. This model also has a timer! If you already know how long you have to dry your food at a certain temperature, you can just ‘set it and forget it’. It is always advisable, however, that you check the dehydrator every now and then, despite the timer.

How long does the drying process last? This depends on the food you’re drying and the temperature settings. However, it typically lasts a couple of hours for the dehydrator to completely extract the moisture from the food.

Luckily, L’Equip FilterPro Food Dehydrator is extremely energy efficient and won’t significantly contribute to your electric bill.

If you are planning on buying one of these, be sure to find an appropriate place for it first. Food dehydrators can demand a lot of space, especially if you buy additional trays.