A celebratory Slavic bread for Easter
Rather than an everyday bread, this is an annual celebratory bake. One variation or another of this sweet bread is often the centrepiece of Orthodox Christian Easter feasting in Ukraine, Belarus, Russia, Romania, Bulgaria, Georgia.
Makes 2 small kulich
355g Strong white flour
130ml Whole milk (warmed)
2 Medium eggs (at room temperature)
40g Active dry yeast
135g White sugar
50g Butter (melted)
2g Salt (if using salted butter, omit this)
1tsp Vanilla extract
1tsp Lemon essence
100g Raisins or mixed dried fruit
Butter for greasing the case or tin.
250g icing sugar
1 teaspoon lemon juice
1 egg white
Sugar sprinkles or any other decorations
You will need two tall, cylindrical tins or ½ kilo panettone cases. Either way, each needs to allow about 400g of dough to double in volume. Kulich should dome up at the top when baked, rather than become mushroom-shaped.
1. Place the yeast in half a cup of the milk with half a teaspoon of the sugar and let it sit for 10-20 minutes until it foams.
2. Place all the ingredients (apart from the raisins / dried fruit) in a mixing bowl of a large mixer and mix until you reach the consistency of sour cream. Alternatively, mix by hand. Add the raisins or the dried fruit at the very end.
3. Cover the dough with cling film and let it rest in a warm place for 3-4 hours. The dough should at least double in volume.
4. Divide the dough into two equal pieces, shape them into ovals and place them into the well-greased baking tins or cases.
6. Cover the tins with a wet towel and leave in a warm place, allowing the dough double in volume. Depending on the ambient temperature, this may take between 1 and 2.5 hours.
5. Heat the oven at 180-200C (fan)
7. Bake in the oven for 25 minutes or until the top is golden brown. Test the kulich is fully baked by inserting a skewer in the centre and withdrawing it – if it comes out clean, the bread is done. If not, put it back in the oven for a few more minutes.
8. Remove from the tins (if using paper cases, these can be left on) and leave on a wire rack to cool down completely.
9. Beat the icing sugar with egg white and lemon juice until thick but spreadable.
10. Cover the top of the kulich with the icing (which may trickle down the sides) and sprinkle with decorations of your choice.
11. Allow the top to dry and enjoy!
As an alternative to icing, you can glaze kulich with melted white chocolate.
At Karaway, we use panettone cases but metal tins large enough to hold the risen dough (eg from coffee, fruit juice or tinned vegetables, washed, dried and greased well) can be used. Be sure that they don’t have a plastic coating!
Recipe text © Karaway Bakery Reproduction prohibited without written permission of the copyright holder.
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