For those of you who don’t live in Russia like I do, Easter Kulich is a sweet bread that is traditionally made during Easter week. It is also sold in stores. I can’t tell you how many times I’ve tasted Easter Kulichi from the store and thought, “why do people like this?” It’s always so dry and course and just NOT TASTY. Well, it turns out (and I should have known this.) that homemade kulich is WAY better. My roommate Natasha and I spent the good part of day perfecting this kulich, and we truly believe this is an AMAZING kulich recipe. I hope you’ll try it, even if it’s not Easter where you are. 🙂 It’s a great type of coffee-cake type of bread, good to have with tea or coffee. The step by step process is detailed below. Enjoy!
½ C. warm milk + 1 C. milk
1 TBS. sugar + 1.5 C. sugar
1 pkg. yeast
1 C. sifted flour + 3 C. sifted flour
6 eggs, separated
200g. (about 3/4C.) butter
pinch of salt
½ TBS. of vanilla extract.
1 C. of raisins
½ C. powdered sugar
1 TBS. lemon juice.
Mix ½ C. warm milk with 1 TBS. sugar
Dissolve 1 pkg. yeast into milk mixture, and let it sit for 5-10 minutes until it is foamy and rising.
Add 1 C. sifted flour to the milk/yeast mixture. Stir until there are no clumps. Cover mixture with a clean cloth and put it in a warm place to rise. Let it rise to twice it’s size, which will take about 20 minutes.
While you wait, separate out 6 egg whites and 5 egg yolks. Keep the 6th yolk separate for later.
Mix 5 egg yolks with 1.5 C. sugar
Warm 1 C. milk in the microwave.
Soften 200 grams (about 3/4C.) butter in the microwave and then add the butter to the warmed milk.
Let the butter/milk mixture cool. It should still be warm, but not cold or HOT. Test the milk/butter with your finger. If it’s super hot, let it cool a bit longer until it’s lukewarm.
When the dough has doubled in size, add the yolk/sugar mixture, the milk/butter mixture, a pinch of salt, and ½ TBS. of vanilla extract.
Take the egg whites out of the fridge and beat them until foamy.
Gradually add 3 C. more sifted flour to the dough mixture, then fold in the egg whites carefully.
Cover dough with a cloth and put in warm place to rise. It should rise to be 3-4 times larger in size. (As you can see from this picture, we like to keep ours near the radiator!)
Put 1 C. of raisins in a bowl and cover with hot water to soften them. (We used ½ white raisins and ½ purple.) Drain after about 10 minutes.
After the dough has risen 3-4 times larger, mix in the raisins. Then cover the dough and let it rise again to 3-4 times its size. Keep the dough in a warm place as it rises.
Grease and flour two tall, round pans. The pans should be about 6 inches round and 4 inches tall. It doesn’t have to be that exact size, but you want two tall, round loaves. You don’t want to put it in an 8-inch cake pan if you know what I mean. If you don’t have or can’t find this kind of taller round baking pan, you can bake it in a bread pan, it just wont be the traditional shape of a Russian kulich. 🙂
Separate the dough into the two pans, then let the bread rise in the pans until doubled.
Use the 1 egg yolk that was separated at the beginning to do an egg wash on the top of the bread once it has rise.
Bake in a 350 degree oven for 45 minutes to an hour.
Watch the bread carefully, as the egg wash can tend to burn. If it begins to get dark, cover the top of the bread with parchment or aluminum foil, and continue baking until done.
Let cool on a wire rack , then glaze and add decorative sprinkles.
1 eggwhite, ½ C. powdered sugar, 1 TBS. lemon juice.
Mix all ingredients together to get a nice shiny glaze mixture.