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Russian, Eastern European and international cuisine brought to you by a mother and a daughter

Russian Kulich (Easter Bread)

Russian Kulich

The smell of Russian Kulich reminds you of that of a Russian church, where air is always filled with warm scents of labdanum and melting wax. The mix of cardamom, nutmeg, and ginger creates that special air of solemnity which accompanies this great Sunday. Looking at the towering Kulichi with their heads glazed with snow-white icing, you might think of Orthodox churches with their hemispheric cupolas.

The most wonderful thing you will discover about Kulich is that it will remain surprisingly fresh and moist for 5 to 7 days. This is an important quality of this Easter bread because the holiday lasts for a whole week, during which people visit their friends and relatives and give each other Kulichi.

The technique we use to colour eggs for Easter is boil them with onion peels. Onion peels give them a dark brick-red colour, and it’s absolutely safe. I also decorated a few eggs with non-toxic gold and silver.

Russian Kulichi

 

Ingredients
- Dough:
500g wheat flour
170g sugar
40g fresh yeast
120ml milk, lukewarm
120ml cream
120g butter, room temperature
2 egg yolks
¼ tsp salt
¼ tsp ground nutmeg
¼ tsp ground ginger
½ tsp ground cardamom
A tiny pinch of ground cloves
A small bag of vanilla sugar
50g golden raisins
150g dried apricots
½ cup almonds
- Icing:
2 egg whites, chilled
125g powder sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
½ cup diced roasted walnuts

Makes 2 medium-sized Kulichi (13cm height, 9cm diameter) + 2 small Kulichi (9cm height, 7cm diameter)

 

Combine yeast, milk, cream, and 1/3 of the flour.

Cover the dough and let it rise (it will rise quickly, in about half an hour).

In the meantime, blend egg yolks, sugar, vanilla, and butter until pale and smooth.

When the first dough has risen (you will notice some bubbles and cracks on the surface), add in salt, the egg yolk&butter mix, and spice. Mix together and add in the remaining flour. Knead the dough until it is smooth and doesn’t stick to the hands.

Cover the dough and leave it to rise in a warm place. It might take 2 to 4 hours, depending on temperature and ingredients.

When the second dough has risen, add in diced apricots, raisins, and peeled almonds (scald them so that the skins will come off easily).

Grease tall cylinder-shaped baking forms with butter and place the dough into the prepared forms. The dough should take about only ½ of the space in the form as it will rise significantly. Leave the dough in the molds to rise for about 15 minutes.

Russian Kulich dough

Russian Kulich dough

Bake at a low heat for around an hour. Control readiness with a wooden stick.

Making Russian Kulichi

While the Kulichi are baking, whip the egg whites with sugar and lemon juice until very firm (you should be able to turn the container with your icing upside down).

Top the Kulichi with the icing when they’ve cooled to room temperature, and sprinkle with diced walnuts.

Russian Kulich

Russian Kulich

Russian Kulich

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28 Responses

  1. :))) Gorgeous! I like the icing with nuts. And again… your Easter eggs are stunning! I’ve got to try this onion peel technique, although in Spain there’s no tradition for decorating eggs.

  2. Oh I would like to wake up smelling this delicious looking bread! Happy Easter!

  3. Nathalie says:

    This is wonderful. I am amazed at how much care and skill you have used for these beautiful Easter eggs. We have nothing like this over here. For the kulichi, do you use regular or bread flour? Do you think using a regular food tin would work? A very happy Easter to you both

  4. Marina says:

    It’s beautiful!!! Happy Easter!

  5. Alina says:

    Miriam, thank you so much! here you can buy packaged onion peels for Easter (one of the very few culinary benefits of living in Latvia, hehe)! if you’re interested, I can find out how much peels you need (I have no idea how much one bag of peels weighs), but I think the peels of one onion should be enough for 2 brown eggs. An important note is that your saucepan is likely to stain too, that’s why we have a separate saucepan for this. Mom says you can also use beetroot juice (pink), Iceland moss (pastel blue), walnut shells (yellow), and nettle (green) for colouring eggs!! :-o But I’ve never tried these before :) the good thing is that all these colourings are 100% natural! Oh and don’t forget to polish the eggs with vegetable oil when they’re ready!

  6. Alina says:

    Sook, thanks a lot - you’re right the smell of this Easter bread is divine!
    Nathalie, thank you!.. I had a lot of days off in a row so I could afford to spend some hours decorating the eggs - it’s such a relaxing job! We use regular, fine wheat flour (perhaps I should add this to the recipe, thanks for pointing out!) And yes, we do use old and trusted food tins - something like coffee tins would work perfectly, as Trudy Rubger said!.. You can also make your Kulich shorter and wider of you don’t have a tall baking form!
    Marina, thank you! Happy Easter to you too!..

  7. Nathalie says:

    Alina and Trudy, thank you for replying so quickly.

  8. Nathalie says:

    Err, me again. You mention cream in your list of ingredients - at what stage should you incorporate it? Thanks Alina

    • Daisy says:

      I just hope whoever weirts these keeps writing more!

      • Thais says:

        My name is Karen Rampton and I live in Queensland Australia. I was looking for iaoormntifn on the family name and came across your web site. Your village looks very beautiful and one day if we are lucky enough to be able to come to England we will have to come and visit.

    • Deck says:

      Hello Cindy, I just was catching up with your blog and heard the news about your mehtor. I am so sorry to hear of your loss. I hope the beautiful things she gave you offer you some comfort and healing memories. You and yours are in my thoughts and prayers. We went to Vintage and Vogue yesterday and it’s as delightful as you have described. Just the nicest ladies!

    • My problem was a wall until I read this, then I smashed it.

  9. Alina says:

    Oops! That’s what happens when you write a blog post while talking to your guests :D cream is combined with milk, so you should incorporate it at the very first stage!

  10. Nathalie says:

    Thank you very much Alina

  11. barbara says:

    Oooh I love this type of sweet bread Alina. Delish.

  12. Alina says:

    Thank you so much Barbara!

  13. Priscilla says:

    Hi,

    I would love to attempt this recipe you mention “Bake at a low heat for around an hour.” at what temperature do you recommend?

    thanks,

    Priscilla

    • Alina says:

      Hi Priscilla, thank you for your query! You see, we used an old oven without temperature control at that time! *blush* I recommend baking your Kulich at 170 to 175C = 338 to 347F. Baking time will vary depending on the size of your baking tins, percentage of fat in your ingredients etc, but not less than an hour. Maybe even 1 1/4 hour!

  14. Mary says:

    Can you please convert the recipe not using the metric system.I am from the U.S. Thank you so much! BREAD LOOKS DELICIOUS!!

  15. Mary says:

    OOPS, can you pleae follow up with e-mail regarding the conversion question. thank you

  16. ping says:

    The bread is gorgeous! I definitely will try this out … I love bread, all kinds. And the egg coloring …. brilliant! I’ve only heard of beetroot for pink and maybe some tea leaves for brown but now I’ve learnt something new! Thanks!

  17. Maynard says:

    Hmm, did you create this your self purely because
    looked at this on twitter already…

  18. Definitely a homey addition to an Easter dinner. Works great with hot chocolate.

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