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The symbolism of bread is commonly observed by Christian cultures throughout the world. During Easter, bread takes many decorative shapes and forms; one of the most beautiful is the egg- and butter-rich Paska, traditionally eaten in Eastern European countries. Paska is often paired with “hrudka” (hur-UT-ka), a custard-like cheese; or a delicious sweetened cream cheese spread, Paska Spread. You might also enjoy thick slices of bread sandwiching kielbasa, or your leftover Easter ham.If you have a bread machine, use its dough or manual setting to make the dough, then shape and bake the bread out of the machine for a stunning Easter table centerpiece. Volume Ounces GramsDough1 cup lukewarm water1/2 cup whole milk1 large egg1/4 cup (4 tablespoons) unsalted butter, at room temperature5 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour1 tablespoon instant yeast2 tablespoons sugar2 1/2 teaspoons saltTopping1 large egg1 tablespoon cold watercoarse white sparkling sugar, optionalDirections1) Mix and knead all of the dough ingredients Ñ by hand, mixer, or bread machine Ñ to make a soft, smooth dough.2) Place the dough in a lightly greased bowl, and let it rise for 60 to 90 minutes, until it”s noticeably puffy.3) Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface; divide it into two equal pieces, and press one piece evenly into a well-greased 9″ x 2″ round pan.4) Divide the other piece of dough into three equal pieces, and roll each out into a 28″ strand; use the three strands to create one long braid.5) Place the braid around the inside edge of the pan, forming a circle on top of the dough in the pan. Trim the ends of the braid, reserving the dough scraps; pinch the braid”s ends together to seal.6) Shape the scraps into a long, thin rope; form the rope into a rosette or cross and place the decoration on top of the dough in the center of the pan. Cover the loaf and let it rise until doubled, about 45 minutes. Towards the end of the rising time, preheat the oven to 350¡F, with a rack in the center.7) In a small bowl, beat 2 large eggs with 1 tablespoon cold water. Brush the mixture gently over the top of the risen loaf, and sprinkle with coarse white sparkling sugar, if desired.8) Bake the bread for 35 to 45 minutes, or until it”s a rich golden brown. Remove it from the oven, and turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool before cutting.Yield: 1 large bread

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