Kulich is a Russian and Ukrainian Easter bread, traditional within the Orthodox Christian faith, and eaten between Easter and Pentecost – which always occurs seven weeks after Easter Sunday.
Think of Kulich as Russia’s version of panettone – a deeply eggy and rich brioche-like cake, traditionally baked in a coffee can, and topped with decorative white glaze and sprinkles, or curlicues festooned on top of the domed tops. The breads are served sliced from the top.
These are best baked in 5” panettone paper molds – anything larger and your rich Kulich runs the risk of deflating during the cooling process. We also use bread flour, rather than all-purpose – its higher gluten content structurally supports the rich heaviness of the ingredients. This recipe makes 4medium Kulich cakes (each serves 4-6).
2cups+2TB warm whole milk
6 large eggs at room temperature
1 TB dry active yeast
2 cups white sugar
2 sticks unsalted butter, melted
1 tsp kosher salt
1⁄2 cup sour cream
1 1⁄2 tsp vanilla extract
9 cups bread flour
1 1⁄2 cups raisins, currants or mixture of both
2 cups confectioner’s (powdered) sugar
Pinch of kosher salt
3 TB lemon juice
What you need:
4 medium panettone molds (approx 5 1⁄2” – available on Amazon or at Sur la Table)
Large mixing bowl with spoon or stand mixer with hook
Sheet pan for baking
Wet and dry measuring cups, measuring spoons
Large bowl for rising
Small bowl and whisk for icing
Mix the warm milk, eggs, yeast, sugar, melted butter, salt, sour cream and vanilla in a large bowl or the bowl of your stand mixer.
Add 4 cups of the flour and mix until dough looks like a batter. Cover and let rest for 2 hours in a warm, draft-free spot.
Add the remaining flour, one cup at a time until the dough is slightly sticky and soft. Fold in the raisins and/or currants, cover, and let rise another 2 hours.
Turn dough onto a lightly floured surface, and using your bench scraper, divide dough into 6 pieces. Gather each piece of dough into a loose ball and place in a panettone mold, seam side down.
Let rise until molds almost full. Place on sheet pan and bake at 350 degrees for 20-25 minutes until top is golden brown and skewer inserted in side of dough is clean or internal temperature 210. Let cool to room temperature.
Make the glaze by whisking the powdered sugar, salt and lemon juice together until smooth. Pour the glaze over each bread and then top with sprinkles before the glaze sets.