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Pasca – Moldovan Easter Bread

Yields1 ServingPrep Time1 hrCook Time4 hrsTotal Time5 hrs

Pască [paskə] is our traditional bread for Easter similar to the Italian panetone, made with cheese stuffing. Our grandmothers and mothers bake Pasca on Thursday night, before Easter and won't let you eat it before it is blessed during the Easter ceremony. It is said that before making the dough for this traditional cheese bread one should close all the doors and windows, to avoid the cold air, otherwise the dough won’t rise. Also, one should pray before kneading the dough, and be lighthearted. The secret of a tasty Pască lies in a good soul, positive thoughts and a vigorous kneading.

Easter Bread Pasca

 600 g flour 200 ml
 50 g yeast
 200 ml water or liquid whey
 100 ml sunflower oil
 700 g cottage cheese
 3 free-range eggs
 3 pinches salt & sugar
1

First, prepare the sourdough starter. Mix the yeast with one tablespoon of sugar, add 100 ml of liquid whey or warm water and whisk. Incorporate a few tablespoons of flour and whisk. Cover the starter with a towel and leave it in a
warm place until it doubles in volume.

2

Sift the flour over a bowl; add the sourdough starter, liquid whey or warm water seasoned with salt. Start kneading
the dough. Work well the dough until it gets to a medium consistency. For better results, gradually add some oil. Knead for at least 25-30 minutes.

3

When finished kneading, let the dough rise in a warm place. After the dough has doubled in volume, transfer to a wooden board. Take out 2/3 of the dough, knead and place it in a round baking tray, greased with oil.

4

Divide the rest of the dough in six equal parts and make three braids. Arrange one braid over the circumference of the baking tray and the other two in the shape of a cross over the bread. Fill the spaces between the braids with the
stuffing made of cottage cheese mixed with eggs and a pinch of salt. If the cheese is too soft add 2-3 tablespoons of semolina.

5

Grease the bread with egg yolk. Preheat the oven at 200 C and bake Pasca for 1,5-2h