Mennonite Baking: Paska Easter Bread

It’s Easter weekend, and what better food to talk about than paska!  It’s a Mennonite Easter bread that I have fond memories of growing up.  And, lucky me, I was able to get out to see my parents, my mom made paska which I enjoyed some of, and also I went to my aunt’s and uncle’s house to see some of my extended family and my aunt made paska as well, which I indulged in without too much hesitation.

There are many variations of paska depending on where your ancestors were from.  Paska how I remember is a sweet white bread with white icing and rainbow sprinkles.  An example of a recipe I found from Mennonite Girls Can Cook:

An example of a recipe I found from Mennonite Girls Can Cook: Lovella’s Paska.

From a nutrition standpoint, I am not particularly fond of the white bread aspect of this easter tradition.  However, using a whole wheat bread for paska just seems wrong to me.  Maybe 50:50 or 75:25 mix of white:whole wheat flour would make it feel a bit healthier.  Though, really, it’s made specifically for Easter, once a year, and once in awhile I think white bread is okay (all in moderation).  I think there is something about the symbolism of bread as well and white bread is more “pure” so there’s probably a connection there and the religious and Christian aspects of this holiday.  But I’ll save that for another day (perhaps another blog).

Also, the rainbow sprinkles may feel a bit naughty on this Easter bread.   There’s a pretty fun alternative that I didn’t realize until this year.  Instead of rainbow sprinkles, try Candy coated fennel seeds!  My mom found some this year (in the Indian/ethnic section of the grocery store).  She vaguely remembers having something similar when she was younger (though our background is not Indian – so fun when cultures collide like this!).  They are so good, they taste like licorice!

Let me know what your favourite Easter tradition is! and Happy Easter!

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