Kulich is traditional Russian Easter bread. This recipe is from my mother. It will take time, but when your kulich is ready you will see that it’s worth it. Bake kulich in different sizes and use as Easter gifts for friends, kids and family.
Ingredients (for 2 big Kulich):
- 2-2 ½ pounds wheat flour
- 2 cups whole milk
- 6 yolks
- 3 egg whites
- 2 tablespoons dry yeast
- 1 ¾ cups sugar
- ¾ pound butter, softened at the room temperature
- 1 tablespoon vanilla sugar
- 3 ½ ounces raisins or diced succade
- 2 ounces almonds, peeled
- 1 orange zest
- ¾ teaspoon salt
- 1 teaspoon ground cardamom
- 1 teaspoon ground nutmeg
- ½ teaspoon saffron
- ¼ cup cognac or dark rum
- 1 egg white and ¾ cup powdered sugar for icing glaze
Let’s get started!!!
- Pour saffron with 1-2 tablespoons hot boiled water and leave overnight. Then drain and set saffron water aside. Wash raisins, pour with cognac and leave for 1 hour. Then drain cognac, mix raisins with almond, add 2 tablespoons flour. Thoroughly mix, put to the colander and shake well to remove extra flour.
- In a stew pot preheat milk up to 30°С (64 °F). Dissolve yeast and ½ cup sugar in a warm milk. Add half of flour and mix well. Leave at the warm place for 15-20 minutes for mixture is growing up.
- In a large bowl whisk eggs with the rest of sugar, melted butter, vanilla sugar, salt, orange zest, saffron water, ground nutmeg and cardamom. Add mixture with yeast and mix well.
- Whisk egg whites until soft peaks and add to the dough. Mix well, gradually add the rest of the flour and start to knead the dough. Knead the dough in a bowl. The dough is very sticky at the beginning, but during the kneading process it becomes smooth. The longer and thoroughly knead the dough, the less flour adds during this, the more fluffy and tasty gonna be your kulich. Flour your hands only for dough doesn’t stick to them.
- Knead your dough about 30 minutes. Yeah! You no need to go to your gym today. As soon as it almost stops to stick to your hands and starts to “whistle” and “peep” – you’ve reached your goal! Continue to knead the dough in 10 minutes and more. After cover bowl with clean kitchen towel and leave at the warm place for 4-6 hours. The dough should grow up. During this time 2-3 times lightly to knead the dough.
- Smear with butter and lightly flour baking shapes. After dough is grown up add raisins and almonds. Slightly knead the dough and put it in the baking shapes, filling them on a third. Leave the baking shapes in the warm place for 1-1 ½ hours, so dough will grow up again.
- Preheat the oven up to 150°С (302°F). Put backing shapes with the dough on the oven-tray and place it on the lowest shelf in the oven. Don’t open the oven door first 40 minutes! In 40 minutes increase the oven temperature up to 160°С (320°F). When top of the kulich will become evenly brown, cover baking shapes with aluminum foil. Baking time depends from the size of you kulich: for small ones it’s about 25-30 minutes, for the medium sized – 35-40 minutes, for big ones about 50-60 minutes. Check readiness with a dry wooden skewer – it have to be completely dry. Cool down kulich on the cooling rack.
- Whip the egg white until they form solid white foam. Continuing to whip gradually add powdered sugar. Whip until the mixture becomes satin shiny and stands up in stiff peaks.
- Once kulich is cool, decorate with icing and sprinkles. Let the glaze harden at room temperature.