How to Make Russian Kulich Bread

The Kulich is a traditional Easter cake. Sometimes thought of as a bread owing the method by which it’s made, it’s much more of a cake than a bread but it can be viewed either way. Kulich is made mainly for Orthodox Easter celebrations and usually consists of a mixture of dried and candied fruits and spices, shaped like a tower. There are many variations on the recipe for the kulich; this recipe is the most common, classical one.

1 kg, 35.2 oz flour
50 g, 1.76 oz yeast
1-1.5 cups of milk
10 egg yolks
3 egg whites
250 g, 8.8 oz sugar
200 g, 7 oz butter
100 g, 3.5 oz raisins
25 g, 0.88 oz cognac
25 g, 0.88 oz candied citrus peel
1 teaspoon ground cardamom and half a teaspoon ground nutmeg
3-4 teaspoons vanilla sugar
1 g, pinch salt
For the icing: The icing is optional but a delicious touch. You can also use commercially-made icing if preferred.
250 g, 8.8 oz sugar
150 ml, 5.0 fl oz hot water
1 tsp lemon juice

 Preparing the kulich batter

Boil half a cup of the milk.      

    Mix the boiled milk with 100 g, 3.5 oz of the flour until you get an elastic mass.

      Dissolve the yeast in another half cup of warm milk. Mix this with 100 g, 3.5 oz   of the flour and leave for 10 minutes for the yeast to react.

        Combine the two mixtures, mix well, cover and leave for about 1 hour, or more, if needed for the mixture to leaven completely.

            Meanwhile, mix the yolks, whites, sugar and salt, and whisk until white.

                Add half of the yolk mixture to the yeast mixture, and let it rise over one hour. Then add the rest of the yolk mixture, add 500 g, 17.6 oz of flour and knead the dough until it stops sticking to your hands.

                    Melt the butter. Slowly add it to the dough, and mix in well. At this stage, preheat the oven to 180ºC/350ºF.

                      Add the spices, raisins, candied citrus peel, and cognac. Mix through, then leave the dough to rise again.

                          Depending on the size you want the kulich to be, divide the dough if you need to and place the dough into the baking container. Remember that the container should only be filled halfway. Sprinkle some raisins and candied citrus peel on the top, and let the dough rise again until it fills about two thirds of the container.