This recipe for Lithuanian Easter bread or velykos (Easter) pyragas (wheat bread) is made with a semi-sweet yeast dough and white raisins.
This bread is perfect with butter for breakfast or brunch, but it also goes well with salty foods like cheese and ham too. It's the perfect foil for ham sandwiches.
- 2 cups scalded milk
- 2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup + 1/2 cup sugar
- 3 cups + 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
- 3 large room-temperature beaten eggs
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 cup white raisins
- 1/2 cup melted butter
- 1 large room-temperature egg yolk
- 1 1/2 tablespoons lukewarm water
- Cool scalded milk to 110 F. Place in a large bowl or stand mixer. Add 2 packages (4 1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast, 1/4 cup sugar and 3 cups all-purpose flour and mix well. Cover and let rise in a warm place until light and bubbly.
- Add 3 large room-temperature beaten eggs, 1/2 cup sugar, 1 teaspoon salt, 1 cup white raisins (if raisins are hard, rehydrate them in a little water or vodka until pliable) and 1/2 cup melted butter to yeast mixture, mixing well.
- Add remaining 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour and knead until smooth dough forms. Turn out into a greased bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
- Grease two (9x5-inch) loaf pans and set aside. Punch down dough. Shape into 2 loaves and place in prepared pans. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled. Heat oven to 350 degrees.
- Brush tops of bread with 1 large room-temperature egg yolk mixed with 1 1/2 tablespoons lukewarm water. Bake 50 minutes or until an instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees. Remove from oven and turn bread out of pans onto a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.
More about Lithuanian Easter
The Easter meal is begun with hard-cooked colored eggs that have been decorated with the scratch or wax-resist method.
It is a tradition for one person to hold his egg while the other person strikes it with his egg. The egg that doesn't crack is left uneaten.
After a big feast, visiting with relatives and friends begins and, for children, a chance to receive Easter eggs from their godparents and neighbors.