Happy March everyone and because Easter is just 22 days from today I wanted to post the recipe I promised for my mother’s Russian Easter Bread, Kulich. The big question is…will ellen b. finally attempt making it this year??? We’re off for our beach walk and had a very busy day yesterday so I hope to get around to blogs later and a post about my Friday.
I promised my mom’s recipe for Kulich. Now what you need to know about my mom and recipes is that she ends up tweaking them from year to year so this recipe is the last written down recipe for her Kulich from 2001.
16 egg yolks
5 C. sugar
1 quart whipping cream
1 quart half and half
1 T. salt
5 cubes butter ( 2-1/2 cups )
1/2 C. oil
1 shot apricot brandy
6 teaspoons powdered vanilla
Zest of 2 lemons
8 pkgs rapid rise yeast
1 T. sugar
1 Cup water and 1 Cup milk
About 10 lbs of flour
Of course most of you will need to cut this recipe in half or quarters cuz this is enough for an army (my extended family)
Add yeast to the cup of water and cup of milk. Make sure the liquids are lukewarm. Let this mixture dissolve and sit. In the meantime beat the eggs, only use a stainless steel bowl. (because mom says it will work better that way). Now add the 1 T. of sugar into the yeast mixture and stir to dissolve.
Cream the butter and sugar. Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture and mix to combine. Mix the half and half with the whipping cream and heat until lukewarm. Add the half and half mixture to the eggs. Mix in the vanilla and brandy. Add the yeast mixture and the salt and beat with a mixer. Continue beating and add the lemon zest. Continue beating and add the flour about a cup at a time. Once you cannot beat the dough any longer, put the dough on a floured surface and start incorporating the flour by kneading the dough. The dough should be kneaded very well approximately 10 minutes. You should knead the dough until you can cut it with a knife and it is smooth without any holes. Place the dough in a stainless steel bowl. Take some oil and pour a little on the dough and spread it all over the dough. Make sure to turn the dough so it is coated evenly. Cover with plastic wrap right on the dough and a dish towel on top of that. Place in a warm place away from drafts to rise. (My sister usually puts it into the oven that has been warmed slightly.
It is now time to prepare the coffee cans (1 lb. and 2 lb. cans are the best) Cut circles the size of the bottom of the cans out of wax paper. You will need four circles per can. Make sure the cans are well greased. Put the 4 circles in the bottom of the cans.
Use a empty and clean coffee can like the one above. Take the label off. You’ll need to use a can opener to cut the lip off the can. I hope these pictures will make the process easier to understand.
Cut sheets of wax paper long enough to line the sides of the can and tall enough to be 2″ above the rim of the can. Use crisco to seal the ends of the paper.
When the dough has doubled in size, punch it down and turn it over. Let it rise a second time until it doubles in size. Punch it down again. You will take a portion of dough about 1/3 the size of the can. Knead it and form it into a smooth ball that you can easily drop into the can. Let the dough rise again inside the can until it is at least double in size. Bake in a 350 degree oven until golden brown on top. Let them cool slightly in the cans. Remove them from the cans and then cool completely on their sides. Cover them with a towel and turn them several times so they keep their shape.
To go with this bread my mom always makes a wonderful sweet cheese topping that is formed in a mold in different shapes. For my mom’s Sernaya Paska (cheese spread) recipe click here.