Kulich (Russian Easter Bread)

TYPE : Russian
Sweet Bread
YIELD : 12 slices
CALORIES : 388 kcal
PREP TIME : 20 mins
COOK TIME : 50 mins
TOTAL TIME : 6 hrs 10 mins

INGREDIENTS :

Starter dough

  • 1 cup (2.5 dl) lukewarm milk
  • 1 tsp instant yeast, or 10 – 15 g fresh yeast
  • 1 tbsp sugar
  • 2 cups (5 dl) all-purpose or bread flour

Main dough

  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup (1 dl) sugar
  • pinch of salt
  • 1 1/2 – 2 cups (3.5 – 5 dl) all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 stick (100 g) soft butter
  • 3/4 cup (2 dl) raisins

Icing

  • 2 cups (5 dl) powdered sugar
  • 2 tbsp water
  • 1 tbsp lemon juice
  • 1 tsp light corn syrup or glucose syrup (optional, for gloss)
  • colorful sprinkles, candies or edible flowers (garnish)

INSTRUCTIONS :

  • Mix and knead the starter dough for a few minutes. Cover and allow to rise until double the size (about 1 1/2 hours).
  • Add eggs, sugar, salt and flour, then knead for a few minutes. Add the butter and knead for a few minutes more. Cover and allow to rise until double the size (about 2 hours).
  • Meanwhile, soak the raisins in some water or liquor of choice.
  • Knead raisins into the dough and shape into a ball.
  • Place in a lined tin (I use a 7 inches (18 cm) wide, 4 inches (10 cm) tall pan) and prove until the dough reaches the rim, about 1 hour.
  • Meanwhile, set the oven to 350°F (175°C).
  • Bake with steam for 45-60 minutes. Inner temperature should be 190-200°F (88-93°C) when done.
  • Allow to cool in the pan covered by a towel.
  • Beat icing sugar, water, lemon juice and corn syrup (if used) until smooth. Adjust the thickness with sugar and water as needed.
  • Take the bread out of the pan and pour icing on top. Decorate with colorful sprinkles, candies or flowers.

NOTES :

You can make the whole dough in one step and use double the amount of yeast if you are short on time.
Traditionally Kulich are baked in empty tin cans, which gives them a smaller, narrower shape. Baking time will be shorter if you decide to use them.

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