For the Eggless Baking Challenge this month, we had to bake Slovak Paska Bread or Paska Peeps or both. This bread is traditionally eaten during Easter in Eastern European countries, looks very beautiful, and has a nice buttery taste. The Paska Peeps is bread, shaped like cute little birds using the same dough. I have replaced eggs with flax seeds and used oil instead of butter, also I have replaced some of the all purpose flour with whole wheat flour. The bread turned out very good and this is first time I have tried braiding the bread dough, the peeps/ birds were really very easy to make and I enjoyed the whole process..
Need To Have
For The Paska Bread
- Whole Wheat Flour - 1 and 3/4 cups
- All Purpose Flour/ Maida - 1 cup
- Active Dry Yeast - 2 teaspoons
- Flax Seed Powder - 2 teaspoons
- Oil - 3 tablespoons
- Warm Milk - 1/2 cup
- Warm Water - 1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons
- Sugar - 3 tablespoons + 1/2 teaspoon
- Salt - a small pinch
For The Peeps
- All Purpose Flour - 1 cup
- Active Dry Yeast - 1/2 teaspoon
- Flax Seed Powder - 1 teaspoon
- Oil - 1 tablespoon
- Warm Milk - 1/4 cup
- Sugar - 1 tablespoon + 1/8 teaspoon
- Salt - 1/8 teaspoon
Add the yeast to 3 tablespoons warm water along with the 1/2 teaspoon sugar and let it rise, takes about 10 to 15 minutes. Add the flax seed powder to 2 tablespoon warm water and leave it for 10 minutes, till it foams up. Take the oil, 3 tablespoons sugar, flax seed powder and salt and mix well. Then add both the whole wheat flour and maida along with the yeast, using the warm milk and water bring it together into a sticky dough.
Apply a teaspoon of oil and leave it covered for 11/2 to 2 hours, till the dough doubles up. Then punch it down and reserving a little dough for making the braid, place the rest in a round baking pan, I have used a 7" round cake pan.
I made the three short braids and lined the pan. For each braid, use 3 lemon size dough balls, following the pictures, shape them into braids.
Leave the dough covered for the second rising for about 1 hour, then bake it at 180 C for about 40 minutes, cool and slice.
Add the yeast to 2 tablespoons water along with 1/8 teaspoon sugar, and the flax seed powder to 1 tablespoon water. Once the yeast has foamed up and the flax seed powder has been in the water for at least 10 minutes, mix the dough the same way as for the paska bread using the milk alone. Leave it covered for 11/2 hours till the dough doubles up in size.
Then punch it down, divide into 8 portions, take one, roll it into a thin rope, then make the basic knot, having one end longer and the other smaller. Shape the smaller end like a birds head, use small pieces of raisins or cranberries for the eyes, and flatten the longer end and press it with a fork to make it look like a feathered wing.
Leave it for 20 to 30 minutes, to rise for the second time, then bake it at 180 C for 15 to 20 minutes.
Oven timings may vary depending on the size of your pan you are using, so keep an eye.
You can make the dough using butter instead of oil and with only milk.