Russian Easter Bread (Kulich) Recipe

Kulich and easter eggs
/ Nikolay Kovalchuk / / Getty Images
    85 min
Ratings (7)

Russian kulich is a sweet yeast-risen bread typically served at Easter. It just wouldn't be Easter Sunday in Russia without a piece of this tall, cylindrical bread that has been blessed by the parish priest.

Another standby for Easter is paskha, a sweet molded cheese dessert that is often spread on a slice of kulich.

Kulich is a cross between a bread and a cake with a slightly sweet crumb. As with most foods, the recipe varies from family to family. But it usually has raisins, nuts, and candied citrus rind. You'll need a 2-pound coffee can or kulich pan to bake it in.

This recipe calls for 8 egg yolks and only 2 egg whites so freeze the leftover egg whites and save them for these leftover egg white recipes.

Here are more Eastern European Easter Bread recipes and Easter Bread Recipes Around the World.
 

What You'll Need

  • For the Dough:
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 1/4 cup sugar + 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 cup scalded milk, cooled to 110 degrees
  • 1 cup + 3 to 3 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 8 tablespoons unsalted room-temperature butter
  • 8 large room-temperature egg yolks (reserve 2 egg whites)
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 2 teaspoons cardamom
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • 1/4 cup chopped candied orange rind
  • For the Glaze:
  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract
  • 2 to 3 teaspoons warm water

How to Make It

Make the Dough and Bake

  1. In a large bowl, combine yeast, water, 1/4 cup sugar and milk, mixing until yeast and sugar have dissolved. Stir in 1 cup flour until well blended. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 1 hour.
  2. In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine butter, 1/2 cup sugar, and egg yolks. Add yeast-flour mixture, combining thoroughly. Add vanilla, cardamom, salt and enough of the 3 to 3 1/2 cups flour to make a soft dough. Stir in raisins, almonds, and orange rind.
  3. In a small bowl, beat 2 reserved egg whites until stiff. Fold them into the dough. Knead by machine or hand until a smooth and elastic dough forms, about 3 to 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning once to coat both sides. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.
  4. Coat a 2-pound coffee can or kulich pan with cooking spray. Punch down dough and knead a few times. Place it in the prepared can, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until dough reaches the top of the can.
  5. Heat oven to 400 degrees. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees and bake another 35 to 40 minutes or until ​the tester comes out clean.

Make the Glaze

  1. While kulich is baking, prepare the glaze by combining in a small bowl the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, almond extract and enough water to make a smooth, runny glaze.
  2. Remove kulich from oven and let cool 10 minutes. Unmold from ​the can and cool on a wire rack. While still slightly warm, drizzle glaze over the top.
  3. To serve, cut off the crown and slice base into rounds. To keep any leftovers moist, replace the crown.