Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Kulich - Russian Easter Bread

From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...This delicious bread is called Kulich. It is a Russian sweet bread with a frosted crown that is associated with Orthodox Christian paschal tradition. The bread is shaped like the hats worn by Orthodox priests and it is baked in tall, cylindrical tins that are twice as tall as they are wide. It tastes much like a good Italian panettone. Kulich, however, has a symbolic importance that other sweet breads do not. It is part of the Russian Orthodox Easter vigil services. On the Saturday before Easter, the bread is taken to church to be blessed by priests. The bread is served only between Easter and Pentecost. While blessed Kulich is eaten before breakfast, the rest is served for dessert with a sweet cheese called paskha. A recipe for paskha can be found here. Paskha is pressed in a mold that embosses the cheese with the letters X. B., the abbreviation for Xristos Boscrecie, or Christ is risen. There is a prescribed ritual for slicing the bread. The crown is removed and placed in the center of a serving platter. The remaining loaf is cut in half lengthwise, then crosswise and finally arranged on the plate around the crown. I was introduced to Kulich many years ago by Russian programmers who were on staff and this is the recipe they shared with me. . This is the first time I made it myself and while it is not difficult to do, shaping it is a bit tricky without proper molds. My gerry-rigged mold sprung a leak, so to speak, so dough was allowed to escape from one side. My Kulich has a carbuncle on one side and a dome that slants. We'll do better next time. The bread is fantastic and I do hope you'll try it. Here's the recipe.

Russian Easter Bread...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite

2 packages yeast
1/2 cup warm water
1/4 cup scalded milk (click here to see how to scald milk under note)
6-1/2 to 7- 1/2 cups flower cups flour
4 whole eggs
2 egg yolks
1 cup butter, melted and cooled to room temperature
1 cup golden raisins
1 teaspoon vanilla
1/2 cup honey
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 cup sugar
2 tablespoons vegetable oil
1 cup confectioners’ sugar
1/2 teaspoon vanilla
1/4 cup heavy cream

1) In a large bowl dissolve yeast in warm water. Add milk cooled to 120 degrees and 1-1/2 cup flour, stir until smooth. Cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down.
2) Add beaten eggs and egg yolks, butter, raisins, vanilla, honey, salt, sugar and vegetable oil. Continue to add remaining flour until a moderately stiff dough is formed. Knead well in the bowl until dough is smooth and elastic.
3) Grease 2 tall 1 pound coffee cans. Fit each can with a collar of greased parchment paper (2 inches) to allow for height. Fill each can with equal amounts of dough. Cover and let rise until double, about 1 hour.
4) While dough is rising, preheat oven to 375 degrees F. When dough has doubled, transfer loaves to oven and bake bake until they are well-browned, about 1 hour. Cool on a rack for 10 minutes before removing bread from cans. Cool on a rack until loaves are at room temperature.
5) Combine sugar, vanilla and cream in a small bowl and beat until smooth. Drizzle over cooled cake. Yield: 2 loaves.

One Year Ago Today: Baked Herbed Shrimp

Two Years Ago Today: Thai Tuna Salad


Red Nomad OZ said...

I'm sure your bread is the better for its 'unique' shape!!!

Lenia said...

It looks absolutely delicious!Very impressive!Greetings,dear!

Martha said...

Wow, what an interesting bread! You're very brave to bake it in a jerry rigged mold. that gave me a chuckle :) thanks for sharing all the stories behind the foods. I enjoy them! Have a wonderful day Mary!

Unknown said...

Mary, I always learn something fun and new from you - I never heard of this Kulich before but I am most happy to meet it! It looks and sounds delicious!

Salsa Verde said...

Hi Mary,
Thank you for another great and fantastic recipe. That looks amazing!

Andrea K. H. Agüin said...

Sometimes those improvisations can be even better than the true to form method. Much more interesting to look at anyway.
This sounds wonderful. I love the rustic, simple, yet novel approach you take to your food.
Thank You for visiting at It's a compliment to have someone with such well rounded taste buds enjoy any portion of my rambling. Have a lovely spring day!

Margaret Murphy Tripp said...

Beautiful bread with an interesting history. I read through the recipe and it sounds like it would be really nice. I love sweet yeast breads. Have a wonderful day.

Ola said...

In polish Easter tradition there's a Kulich (Kulik) and Paskha (Pascha) as well, because lot of polish tradition in my part of Poland is taken from the east, where before World War 2 were polish teritory. It is really nice to see this recipe in your blog, because it's so delicious and nice part of tradition, that should be known by the rest of the world :) Blessings!

Selene said...

wow!!! <3


Unknown said...

Wow.. that is tall!! Despite your little mishap, it still looks wonderful.

Comfy cuisine said...

Just beautiful Mary! Similar to my Polish Babka! Happy Easter!

Jane said...

This is so fascinating, I love learning about different cultures, thank you for sharing! I hope you have a great day! said...

I have tried this before and let me tell you it is very, very good...Great Job as always...

June said...

I think your bread looks lovely and I'll bet it tastes delicious and I enjoyed reading about the history too.

Kitchen Riffs said...

What a gorgeous bread! This is a new recipe to me. Looks wonderful, and you did a terrific job. I wouldn't have known you didn't have the proper mold if you didn't tell us. Fun post - thanks.

Namitha said...

Looks fabulous ! Wish you a blissful Easter, Mary !

Shoutforfood said...

I think I am drooling over the keyboard so early in the morning.

From the Kitchen said...

I haven't made this in years because I used one pound coffee cans as my mold. I now only purchase coffee beans--thus, no mold! Your beautiful bread makes me want to try and find a substitute mold and prepare it once again.


Anonymous said...

I thought it was a cake at first, but oh my, bread...even better! What a fantastic recipe, Mary. x

Ginny Hartzler said...

Interesting information about the Russian traditions. We have a Russian church nearby. The pictures are both ones you made? Beautiful!!!

Angie's Recipes said...

This is new to me...yours looks very pretty too. The shape of original one is unusual.

Rita said...

Beautiful creation; I have never heard of this before. don;t you love it when things like this happen?
Happy Easter Mary to you and your family.

A Paixão da Isa said...

hummm de ser uma delicia pois ficou muito bonito parabens bjs

Suzie said...

Thanks for the story behind the bread, learning something new every day :)

Kelly said...

This is not a bread I'm familiar with so I love that you introduced me to it. Like some of the other commenters I love learning about something new from you!

Chelsea said...

I learn new things all the time from your blog! What an interesting Easter treat. It sounds absolutely delicious!

Joanne said...

I grew up on Italian easter bread so it's so fascinating to me now to see all the other cultures that have one. This sounds so tasty!

The Harried Cook said...

Wow! I am amazed at how much I learn from you... I have never heard of this bread, but it is truly impressive! Love the creative baking... Great post, Mary!

Dining Alone said...

A little education with your recipe, I love it. The bread looks tasty.

Ola said...

Pasha is also poular in Eeastern Poland for Easter. I made it last Easter and we enjoyed that a lot. I never heard of kulich, inetresting!
Life and travelling

Related Posts with Thumbnails