Russian Easter Bread (Kulich) Recipe

Kulich and easter eggs
Kulich is an Easter tradition. Nikolay Kovalchuk / Getty Images
  • 85 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins,
  • Cook: 55 mins
  • Yield: 1 large kulich (16 servings)
Ratings (12)

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 recipes like this meringue torte.

Make sure to try other Eastern European Easter bread recipes and Easter bread recipes around the world.
 

What You'll Need

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

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.
  1. 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.
  2. 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.
  3. Heat oven to 400 F. Place pan on a baking sheet and bake 10 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 F and bake another 35 to 40 minutes or until a cake tester or long toothpick or thin skewer comes out clean.
  4. 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 (see below) over the top of the kulich.

Make the Glaze

  1. While kulich is baking, prepare the glaze in a small bowl by combining the confectioners' sugar, lemon juice, almond extract and enough warm water to make a smooth, runny glaze.
  2. Pour over the top of the kulich allowing it to run down the sides of the cake.
  3. To serve, cut off the crown and slice base into rounds. To keep any leftovers moist, replace the crown.