Kulich - Russian Sweetbread Recipe

Kuilch pasha
  Photo by Exlex CC-BY-3.0

Kulich, also known as "Easter cake" is a kind of Easter bread traditional in the Orthodox Christian faith. Kulich is usually put into the basket, decorated with colorful flowers and blessed by the priest during the Easter service. Blessed kulich is eaten before breakfast each day. Leftover kulich that isn't blessed is eaten with Paskha for dessert. Here's a recipe of Russian kulich that makes three large or six small loaves; 24 servings.

Ingredients

  • 5 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 pkgs. dry yeast
  • 1 tsp. salt
  • 3/4 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1/3 cup butter
  • 2 eggs at room temp.
  • 1/2 cup citron
  • 3/4 cup chopped, toasted almonds

Preparation

1. In large bowl, blend 1 1/2 cups flour, sugar, undissolved yeast and salt. Heat milk, water and butter until warm (120º to 130ºF). Gradually add mixture to remaining dry ingredients. Beat 2 minutes at medium speed of electric mixer. Add eggs and beat at high speed 2 minutes. Stir in almonds, citron and enough flour, as needed, to make a soft dough.

2. Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6 to 8 minutes. Place dough in large, greased bowl, turning dough to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm, place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.

3. Punch dough down. Divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Shape each into ball; place in 3 greased 16-ounce coffee cans. Or, divide dough into 6 pieces, shape into balls and place in 6 greased 11-ounce soup cans. Cover; let rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes (small cans) or 1 hour (large cans).

4. Preheat oven to 350ºF; bake small loaves for 30 minutes and 35 minutes for large loaves. Remove loaves from cans and place on their sides on wire racks to cool. Top with Almond Frosting.

5. Almond Frosting:

  • 2 cups confectioners' sugar
  • 2 to 3 tablespoons milk
  • 1/2 teaspoon almond extract

Kulich History and Serving

Kulich is only eaten during the 40 days after Easter. Its recipe is very similar to Italian panettone. Kulich is baked in tall, cylindrical tins and is decorated with white icing, colorful flowers, and the traditional Easter greeting of Христос воскресе on the side, which means "Christ is Risen".

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