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Pasca - Romanian Easter Bread

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“Pasca (sometimes called paska or Easter Bread) is a traditional eastern Europe yeast bread that is soft and sweet. In Romania this bread is special because it has cheese cake center. My Romanian friend first made it for me with just the cheese cake middle with no bread, and it was wonderful, but I wanted to try this more traditional style with a braided bread circle.”
READY IN:
4hrs 30mins
SERVES:
12
UNITS:
US

Ingredients Nutrition

Directions

  1. Make the Bread Dough:
  2. In a mixing bowl add 1 cup flour, 1 cup warm milk, and 2 tsp of dry yeast and stir to combine. Sprinkle 1/2 cup flour on top and let sit for 10-15 minutes until the mixture increases in volume and the flour on top is cracked looking.
  3. To the same bowl, add melted butter, oil, egg, sugar, vanilla extract, and salt, and mix until well combined.
  4. Slowly add the remaining 3 cups of flour while continuing to mix, adding only enough for the dough to clear the sides of the bowl, no more. Adding too much flour will cause the dough to be dry.
  5. Knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. If kneading by hand, use only enough flour to keep dough from sticking to hands and surface, being careful not to add too much.
  6. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, cover, and leave to rise until doubled in volume, about 2 hours. I like to let dough rise in a closed (off) oven.
  7. Divide the dough into 4 sections.
  8. Roll one piece into a 10-inch circle and place it in the bottom of a well-buttered 10 inch springform pan.
  9. Shape the remaining pieces into thin ropes about 2.5 feet long and braid them together.
  10. Place the braided pieces in the springform pan, braiding the ends together to form a sealed circle.
  11. Cover and let rise for another 40 minutes.
  12. Make the Cheese Filling:
  13. When is the dough has risen, preheat the oven to 375F and make the cheese filling.
  14. In a new mixing bowl, whisk together the cheese, eggs, sugar, raisins, vanilla extract, and lemon zest.
  15. Assemble and Bake:
  16. Beat egg with water, and brush the braid with the egg wash.
  17. Pour the cheese filling into the middle of the braided circle.
  18. Bake for 15 minute sat 375°F.
  19. Without opening the oven door, lower the oven temperature to 325F and bake for 45 more minutes or until the crust is deep brown.
  20. Turn off the oven and crack open the oven door a little bit. Allow the bread to cool slowly inside the oven.
  21. Slice and enjoy with a hot cup of tea!

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