Russian kulich is a sweet yeast-risen bread typically served at Easter. It just wouldn't be Easter Sunday in Russia without a piece of this tall, cylindrical bread that has been blessed by the parish priest.
Another standby for Easter is paskha, a sweet molded cheese dessert that is often spread on a slice of kulich.
Kulich is a cross between a bread and a cake with a slightly sweet crumb. As with most foods, the recipe varies from family to family. But it usually has raisins, nuts, and candied citrus rind. You'll need a 2-pound coffee can or kulich pan to bake it in.
- For the Yeast Sponge:
- 2 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup water (warm)
- 1/4 cup white sugar
- 1/2 cup milk (scalded, cooled to 110 F)
- 1 cup all-purpose flour
- For the Dough:
- 4 ounces unsalted butter (room temperature)
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 8 large egg yolks (room temperature; reserve 2 egg whites)
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 2 teaspoons cardamom
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 3 to 3 1/2 all-purpose cups flour
- 1/3 cup raisins (golden)
- 1/4 cup almonds (slivered)
- 1/4 cup candied orange rind (chopped)
- For the Glaze:
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 2 teaspoons lemon juice
- 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
- 2 to 3 teaspoons water (warm)
While there are multiple steps, this Easter bread recipe is broken down into workable categories to help you better plan for baking.
Make the Yeast Sponge
- In a large bowl, combine yeast, water, 1/4 cup white sugar, and milk. Mix until the yeast and sugar have dissolved. Stir in 1 cup flour until well blended.
- Cover and let stand in a warm place for 1 hour.
Make the Dough
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, 1/2 cup white sugar, and egg yolks. Add yeast-flour mixture, combining thoroughly. Add vanilla, cardamom, salt and enough of the 3 to 3 1/2 cups flour to make a soft dough. Stir in raisins, almonds, and orange rind.
- In a small bowl, beat 2 reserved egg whites until stiff. Fold them into the dough. Knead by machine or hand until a smooth and elastic dough forms, about 3 to 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once to coat both sides. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
- Coat a 2-pound coffee can or kulich pan with cooking spray. Punch down dough and knead a few times. Place it in the prepared pan, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until dough reaches the top of the can.
Bake the Kulich
- Heat oven to 400 F. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake another 35 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester or long toothpick or thin skewer comes out clean.
- Remove kulich from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Unmold from the can and cool on a wire rack. While still slightly warm, drizzle glaze (see below) over the top of the kulich.
Make the Glaze and Serve
- While kulich is baking, prepare the glaze in a small bowl by combining the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, almond extract, and enough warm water to make a smooth, runny glaze.
- Pour over the top of the kulich allowing it to run down the sides of the cake.
- To serve, cut off the crown and slice base into rounds. To keep any leftovers moist, replace the crown.
|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Total Fat||12 g|
|Saturated Fat||5 g|
|Unsaturated Fat||5 g|
|Dietary Fiber||3 g|