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Horizontal image baked loaves topped with thick white icing and flowers next to more flowers.

Kulich: Traditional Russian Easter Bread


  • Author: Lorna Kring
  • Prep Time: 45 minutes
  • Cook Time: 40 minutes
  • Total Time: 4 hours, 25 minutes
  • Yield: 1 large loaf 1x

Description

Here’s a sweet recipe to bake as a beautiful centerpiece to your Easter table setting: Kulich, a traditional Russian Easter bread, mixed with fruits, nuts, and a hint of cardamom.


Ingredients

Scale

For the Bread:

  • 1/2 cup warm whole milk
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1 1/4-ounce package active dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup granulated sugar, divided
  • 4 1/2 cups all-purpose flour, divided
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter (1 stick), melted
  • 8 large egg yolks
  • 2 tablespoons sour cream
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
  • 2 teaspoons ground cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon kosher salt
  • 3/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup chopped candied citrus peel
  • 3/4 cup slivered almonds

For the Icing:

  • 1 cup confectioners’ sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • Warm water, as needed

Instructions

For the Yeast Sponge:

  1. In a large mixing bowl, combine the milk, water, yeast, and 1/4 cup of the sugar with a whisk. Stir until the yeast and sugar have completely dissolved. Mix in 1 cup of flour until well blended.
  2. Cover with plastic wrap and let stand in a warm place for 1 hour, or until bubbly and doubled in size.

For the Dough:

  1. In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the paddle attachment, mix together the remaining 1/2 cup sugar, melted butter, egg yolks, sour cream, and vanilla on medium-high speed until combined.
  2. Add the risen yeast and flour mixture, and stir well.
  3. Whisk together the cardamom, salt, and 3 cups flour in a separate small bowl. Add the wet mixture, and mix to make a soft dough.
  4. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured work surface, using the remaining 1/2 cup flour as needed. Knead in the raisins, candied fruits, and almonds. Continue to knead for 5-8 minutes, until the dough feels soft and elastic. Alternately, knead in the stand mixer using the dough hook attachment. Knead for the same amount of time, until soft and elastic. 
  5. Shape into a ball, and place in a large, lightly greased bowl, turning once to coat the entire ball of dough. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for about 1 hour, or until doubled in size.
  6. Punch down dough, kneading a few times. Generously coat a medium-sized springform panettone pan* with cooking spray. Place the dough in the mold. Cover with plastic wrap and let it rise for 1 hour, or until the dough reaches about 3/4 of the way up the inside of the pan.

For Baking:

  1. Preheat the oven to 400°F. Put the bread pan on top of a sheet pan, and place in the oven. Bake for 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350°F. Bake another 35-40 minutes, or until a wooden pick comes out clean.
  2. Remove from the oven and let cool for 20 minutes. Remove the bread from the pan and let cool completely on a wire rack.

For the Icing and Decorating:

  1. While the loaf is cooling, prepare the icing. In a small bowl, mix together the confectioners’ sugar, lemon juice, almond extract with enough warm water to make a smooth, thick, and slightly runny glaze.
  2. Drizzle the glaze over the top of the cooled bread. Garnish with assorted toppings. Let set until firm. Cut the bread into wedges, and serve!

Notes

*For this recipe, Foodal recommends using a springform panettone pan that is 4.5 inches in diameter and 6.5 inches in height. You can also use panettone paper molds of close to the same size. Another option is to divide the dough in half and place it in two smaller pans, and reduce the baking time by 15 minutes.

  • Category: Bread
  • Method: Baking
  • Cuisine: Baked Goods

Keywords: Kulich, Bread, Russian cuisine, Easter recipes, breakfast