Nadezda’s Kulich ~ My Mom’s Russian Easter Bread

easter 2016 047

What many of you call Paska we call Kulich. This is my mom’s Russian Easter Bread Recipe that I quartered because the amount she would make is quite daunting for me. We have cut it in half in years past. 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 for her Kulich from 2001. I have a 2009 and 2012 recipe, too. This one was easier to quarter. Here’s the link to the original. My dear mom passed away from this earth in September of 2013 so I cherish her tweaked recipes.

I will post her recipe every year about a week before Easter for inspiration. We like it fresh so many years we bake it on the day in between Good Friday and Easter. This is not a recipe that I would attempt on my own. In my mind it calls for company enjoying the process together, like this group of loved ones in 2016.


It’s always good to pray over your dough!



  • 2 packets rapid rise yeast
    1/4 cup lukewarm water
    1/4 cup lukewarm milk
    1 teaspoon sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
    1 egg
    1-1/4 cups sugar
    3/4 cup butter
    1 cup whipping cream
    1 cup half and half
    1/2 ounce apricot brandy
    1-1/2 teaspoons powdered vanilla
    1 teaspoon salt
    Zest of half a lemon
    About 2-1/2 pounds of flour, sifted (about 7 cups)
    Vegetable oil to coat the rising dough
  • 6 to 7 one pound or two pound cans for baking. You can use loaf pans or large muffin tins if you don’t have the cans to bake them in


Add yeast to the lukewarm water and milk and sugar in a stainless steel bowl making sure the liquids are lukewarm. Let this mixture dissolve and sit.

Beat the egg yolks and egg together.
Cream the butter and sugar in the large bowl of a stand-up mixer.
Add the eggs to the butter and sugar mixture slowly mixing to combine and then beat to incorporate well.Mix the half and half with the whipping cream and heat until lukewarm, not hot, and slowly incorporate into the creamed mixture.
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 sifted flour about a cup at a time.
Once you cannot beat the dough any longer using the mixer, put the dough on a floured surface and start incorporating the remaining 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 making 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 ones above. If there is a label make sure to take it off. If the can has a lip at the top 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.

After putting the circles in the bottoms of the cans, 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.

Back to the dough…

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.
Now the dough is ready to put into the prepared cans.
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.(approximately 30 minutes or more depending on your oven.)

Let them cool slightly in the cans. Remove them from the cans and then cool completely standing up. Some people cool them on their sides turning them often to keep their shape. We found this time that they cool just fine and keep their shape standing up so we didn’t bother with that step!

This recipe yielded 7 loaves.


To go with this bread my mom always made a wonderful sweet cheese topping that is formed in a mold in different shapes.  I’m adding the recipe here.

paska class 005

 Seernaya Paska


18 – hard boiled eggs /
3 pounds Farmers cheese /a dry curd cheese like a dry cottage cheese can be substituted.
1 pint whipping cream /
3 cubes unsalted butter (12 oz.) /
3 cups sugar /

Press the Farmers cheese through a sieve. (This is the hardest part of the recipe) If you find a very small curd cheese you won’t have to do this to the cheese. I usually use a wooden spoon and press it through a wire strainer a little at a time. Separate the egg yolks from the whites. (You will not be using the whites).

Press the egg yolks through the sieve. Cream the sugar and butter together. Beat in the egg yolks. Beat in the cheese. Add whipping cream and mix well. You will place the mixture into a strainer lined with about 3 layers of cheesecloth. You will need enough cheesecloth to wrap up and over the top of the cheese. Place the cheese mixture into the cheese cloth lined strainer, or flower pot with holes in the bottom. Bring the ends of the cheese cloth up and tie the ends on top of the cheese in a knot. Place the sieve or flower pot into a larger bowl suspended with enough room for the cheese to drain without sitting in the drained liquid. Place a plate on top of the cheese an place a heavy rock, brick, or other weight on top of the plate. Refrigerate over night.

This recipe is enough to feed an army. If you don’t have to feed an army here’s a scaled down version :0)

If you just want a normal amount, cut the recipe in thirds. (6 cooked egg yolks, 1-lb. cheese, 2/3 cup whipping cream, 1 cube butter and 1 cup sugar.) Enjoy!

Farmers Cheese or Hoop Cheese can be hard to find. There are Russian-Ukrainian delis that sell a dry curd cottage type cheese that will work. If you can find a dry cottage cheese at the grocers that will work too.

We like to serve the kulich with the spread and strawberries.

When the Mennonite Girls Can Cook had a Paska demonstration at Lepp Market in Abbotsford I brought a completed Seernaya Paska, sweet cheese spread molded from home since it has to sit in the refrigerator having all the liquid pressed out for at least 24 hours. I plated it and showed one of the flower pots I use to mold the cheese and the heavy stone wrapped in plastic wrap to weight the cheese and force the liquid out. We used fresh viola blossoms to decorate it. I made an error in the pronunciation of this dish in our first cookbook. It is called seernaya paska not seerney paska . I’ve always had a hard time with my Russian. I’ve found these plastic flower pots work well to mold the cheese. Make sure you add holes in the bottom of the pot so the liquid can escape easily.

easter 2016 038

This blast from the past was probably our first Easter in Washington State, 1989.


True Confessions: I have not attempted to make Kulich here in Colville. I have made Seernaya Paska to go with Kulich I purchased at Kiev Market in Spokane. The market Kulich does not compare to our mom’s recipe.

Are you preparing for Easter?

Truth for Today #49

Thursday March 30th

On Thursdays my posts will include verses that stood out in my readings from the Bible during the week. One, two, three or maybe more. If you have a verse/verses that you read during the week and would like to share, leave it/them in the comments and I will add it/them to the post. Let’s dig deep in God’s Truth again this year!

Mark 1:14-15

Now after John was arrested, Jesus came into Galilee, proclaiming the gospel of God, and saying, “The time is fulfilled, and the kingdom of God is at hand; repent and believe in the gospel.”

Daniel 4:3

How great are his signs, how mighty his wonders! His kingdom is an everlasting kingdom, and his dominion endures from generation to generation.

From Vera:

‭‭Joshua‬ ‭1‬:‭9‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“Have I not commanded you? Be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go.”

And the Blog Goes On Hodgepodge

Joyce From This Side of the Pond asks the questions for us to answer and get our brains engaged with Wednesday Hodgepodge. Thank you, Joyce.

Camarillo is where I started blogging. We were close to the Pacific Ocean and enjoyed many hikes along the coast. The photo above is from Sycamore Canyon just south of Point Mugu and north of Malibu in California. This was in the Santa Monica mountain range.

1.Why do you blog? Have your reasons changed over time? 

I started blogging in March of 2007 when we lived in a very small condo in California for a couple of years and I had lots of time on my hands. I enjoyed the weekly challenges like Blue Monday, Ruby Tuesday, ABC Wednesday, Tablescape Thursday, Friday Fave Five and many others. It was also good to journal the events going on in our lives and our family life. Through blogging I’ve met so many good friends over the years. Some I’ve been privileged to meet in person and others I cherish without ever meeting them face to face. Through blogging I became one of the Mennonite Girls Can Cook. What a joy that has been. It’s a creative outlet for me and lately has turned out to be a great tool for recall in my lapses of memory.

2. What’s a typical Friday night look like at your house?

Typically it is pretty boring unless we have our local kids over for dinner or if it’s a weekend that our Westside kids drive over.

3. Do you like donuts? Yes.

Your favorite kind? Cinnamon twist or maple bar or Jelly or Glazed or….

How often do you treat yourself to a donut? Not often but every time I step into Super 1 (one of our local grocery stores) and the donut aroma hits me I’m tempted.

Have you ever made homemade donuts? No

4. How do you feel about shopping? I like to shop when I have something in particular that I’m looking for.

Are you an online shopper? Only because I have to, not because I enjoy it.

Catalog shopper? Rarely

Brick and mortar shopper? Yes, because I like to see something and hold it in my hands before I buy it.

Do you order groceries online or prefer to select items with your own two hands? No online grocery shopping. I like to check dates on the products and make sure I’m getting the freshest loaf of bread, etc.

5. Next week’s Hodgepodge finds us somehow in the month of April, which just so happens to be National Poetry Month. Sum up (or tell us something about) your month of March in the form of a limerick. You can do it!! 

We celebrate March with cake
Not too early or late we bake
One young, one old
With joy behold
We celebrate March with Cake

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Our two family birthdays in March are 6 days apart, one in Winter and one in Spring. I’m the old one and the oldest one in our family of ten. Addy is the young one but not the youngest in our family. So thankful that we can celebrate each other. So much joy to behold. We’ll celebrate two more in April, the youngest of the males in our family. Birthdays celebrated four days apart and birthyears 30 years apart.

Kenneth Grahame ~ Wind in the Willows

From the Wind in the Willows ~ by Kenneth Grahame

“The weary Mole also was glad to turn in without delay, and soon had his head on his pillow, in great joy and contentment. But ere he closed his eyes he let them wander round his old room, mellow in the glow of the firelight that played or rested on familiar and friendly things which had long been unconsciously a part of him, and now smilingly received him back, without rancour. He was now in just the frame of mind that the tactful Rat had quietly worked to bring about in him. He saw clearly how plain and simple – how narrow, even – it all was; but clearly, too, how much it all meant to him, and the special value of some such anchorage in one’s existence. He did not at all want to abandon the new life and its splendid spaces, to turn back on sun and air and all they offered him and creep home and stay there; the upper world was all too strong, it called to him still, even down there, and he knew he must return to the larger stage. But it was good to think he had this to come back to, this place which was all his own, these things which were so glad to see him again and could always be counted upon for the same simple welcome.”

“This has been a wonderful day!” said he, as the rat shoved off and took to the sculls again. “Do you know, I’ve never been in a boat in all my life.”

“What?” cried the Rat, open mouthed: “Never been in a – you never-well, I-what have you been doing, then?”

“Is it so nice as all that?” asked the Mole shyly, though he was quite prepared to believe it as he leaned back in his seat and surveyed the cushions, the oars, the rowlocks, and all the fascinating fittings, and felt the boat sway lightly under him.

“Nice? It’s the only thing.” said the Water Rat solemnly, as he leaned forward for his stroke. “Believe me, my young friend, there is nothing – absolutely nothing- half so much worth doing as simply messing about in boats. Simply messing.”

I read The Wind in the Willows for the first time in 2008 and that same year Dear and I went to the Rose Bowl Flea Market where I saw and purchased this teapot by Sadler from their Classic Stories series.

While we were in Oxford in September of 2022 we took a stroll through Holywell Cemetery.

The friends of Holywell Cemetery need some more friends to help keep up this cemetery.

The reason I’m adding photos from this cemetery in this post about Kenneth Grahame is that we stumbled upon his gravestone in this cemetery. We saw a few gravestones of note. This one is Kenneth Grahame’s. His son is buried here, also. He died tragically when he was just 20.

The Beautiful Memory
Kenneth Grahame
Husband of Elspeth
Father of Alastair
Who Passed the River
On the 6th of July 1932
Childhood & Literature
Through Him
The More Blest
For All Time
And of His Son Alastair Grahame
Commoner of Christ Church

Another headstone we took note of was this one for Charles Walter Stansby Williams.

Charles Walter Stansby Williams was a British poet, novelist, playwright, theologian, literary critic, and member of the Inklings, an informal literary discussion group associated with C. S. Lewis and J. R. R. Tolkien at the University of Oxford.

Have you ever read The Wind in the Willows? I found it to be very entertaining and heart warming. I’ll leave you with one more quote from this children’s classic.

“Here today, up and off to somewhere else tomorrow! Travel, change, interest, excitement! The whole world before you, and a horizon that’s always changing!”

Enjoy your horizons!

My Lord, How Full of Sweet Content ~ Hymn

My Lord, How Full of Sweet Content

My Lord, how full of sweet content;
I pass my years of banishment!
Where’er I dwell, I dwell with Thee,
In Heaven, in earth, or on the sea.

To me remains nor place nor time;
My country is in every clime;
I can be calm and free from care
On any shore, since God is there.

While place we seek, or place we shun
The soul finds happiness in none;
But with a God to guide our way,
’Tis equal joy, to go or stay.

Could I be cast where Thou are not,
That were indeed a dreadful lot:
But regions none remote I call,
Secure of finding God in all.

Words: Madame Guyon, 1722.

Mexican Corn Soup

This soup has a good blend of flavors with a nice spice level to warm you up.


  • 1 –12-16 ounce package frozen whole kernel corn, thawed
  • 2 – Cups chicken broth
  • 2 – Tbsp. butter or margarine
  • 1 – 4-1/2 ounce can diced green chili peppers
  • 1 – clove garlic, minced
  • 1 – Tablespoon snipped fresh oregano or l tsp. dried oregano, crushed
  • 1/4 – tsp. salt
  • 1/4 – tsp. ground black pepper
  • 1 – cup milk
  • 2 – cups chopped, cooked chicken
  • 1 – cup chopped fresh tomatoes (You can substitute canned chopped tomatoes)
  • 1 – cup shredded Monterey Jack Cheese or Mexican blend cheese
  • cilantro as garnish, optional
  • tortilla strips, optional


  1. In a blender container combine half of the corn and the chicken broth. Cover; blend until nearly smooth.
  2. In a large saucepan, combine corn puree, remaining corn, butter, chili peppers, garlic, dried oregano (if using dried instead of fresh), salt, and black pepper.
  3. Bring to boiling, reduce heat, and simmer, uncovered, for 10 minutes.
  4. Stir in milk, chicken, tomatoes, and fresh oregano (if using instead of dried), heat through.
  5. Remove from heat.
  6. Stir in cheese until melted.
  7. Sprinkle with fresh cilantro and tortilla strips, if desired.
  8. If you like heat add chopped jalapeno along with the diced green chili peppers.
  9. Serves 4-6.

Tips: For the tomato portion of this recipe I used a 14-1/2 ounce can of chopped tomatoes with jalapenos that really gave the soup a nice ramp of spice.

The Rest of Last Weekend

On Saturday the 18th, we moved from the birthday party of one of the youngest in our family to celebrate the oldest in our family, me. Our kids made soup and salad and even baked a loaf of marbled rye for us to enjoy for dinner. After dinner we enjoyed strawberry shortcake. Before the cake was cut we had the obligatory blowing out of a few candles.

I had the best helpers to help blow out the candles.

This guy had a full day of watching others open presents.

I got puzzle piece sorter trays, a puzzle subscription, a framed bouquet of flowers that represent all the months of our family birthdays. Names are written on the stems and some leaves.

Josh asked for silly faces and two of the five obliged. Time for the littles to go home with their parents and for the older folk to hit the sack after a full day of celebrating.

We gathered on Sunday for breakfast at Dan and Jamie’s and we all enjoyed some time outside ending with a nice walk down the driveway and up again.

Our Westside kids hopped into their car and headed back across the mountains for home.

I’m adding this next collage for my benefit.

Love the delight captured in Addy’s face at her ‘friends’ party a week prior to the family party. The bakery owner made those cute unicorn cookies.

Back to the Present: After a few sunny days with temps up into the 50’s we are having a brief cold snap with possible rain in the mix. Looking forward to warmer days next week and hopefully I’ll be able to finish clearing our planters of their old growth. It will be a quiet weekend after our very busy one. Hope you all have a nice weekend.

Truth for Today #48

Thursday March 23rd

On Thursdays my posts will include verses that stood out in my readings from the Bible during the week. One, two, three or maybe more. If you have a verse/verses that you read during the week and would like to share, leave it/them in the comments and I will add it/them to the post. Let’s dig deep in God’s Truth again this year!

John 18:37

Then Pilate said to him, “So you are a king?” Jesus answered, “You say that I am a king. For this purpose I was born and for this purpose I have come into the world–to bear witness to the truth. Everyone who is of the truth listens to my voice.”

From Vera:

‭‭Deuteronomy‬ ‭30‬:‭19‬-‭20‬ ‭ESV‬‬

“I call heaven and earth to witness against you today, that I have set before you life and death, blessing and curse. Therefore choose life, that you and your offspring may live, loving the Lord your God, obeying his voice and holding fast to him, for he is your life and length of days, that you may dwell in the land that the Lord swore to your fathers, to Abraham, to Isaac, and to Jacob, to give them.”

I Choose Joy Hodgepodge

Wednesday Hodgepodge is back this week. Thank you Joyce From This Side of the Pond for the questions!

1. Did you celebrate St. Patrick’s Day in some way? If so tell us how. Are you a fan of corned beef? Cabbage? The color green? Yes, yes, and yes. 

This year St. Patrick’s day landed on the Friday that our kids drove over from the Westside to celebrate birthdays over the weekend. All of us, except for Andrew, gathered Friday evening for a Corned Beef and Cabbage meal. Our weekend was packed solid with celebrations. Addy’s party on Saturday afternoon and a belated celebration for me Saturday evening.

2. March 22nd is National Goof Off Day…will you celebrate? Your favorite way to goof off? Last time you had a whole day to spend ‘goofing off’? 

My favorite way to goof off is to do nothing and stay in my jammies and robe for most of the morning. Wednesdays is not usually a goof off day for me. Wednesday morning I join some other gals at church for prayer meeting at 9am. After prayer I usually stop at Wal-Mart or Super 1 to pick up any needed groceries since I’m in town already. On this particular Wednesday we are having 2 other couples over for cards at 5 so I’ll be making some kind of a dessert for us to share during our card evening. Hand and Foot is what we play (Canasta?).

3. Something on your to-do list that has been there more than a month? Will this be the month you finally cross it off? 

Usually in late Fall the planters should be cleared of old growth and prepared for winter. We had early snow that covered our planters and Dear had a stroke on November 5th so any outside work got put on the back burner. Before March is over I hope to be able to clear out all the soggy and dead growth to give way to the Spring growth. On Monday and Tuesday of this week the weather was right to get a start on this task. My back can only take so much each day. I have 4 of the 7 planters done. Dear was able to gather many of the fallen branches from our evergreens and chop them down to size for the burn pile. So thankful that we are still physically able to accomplish some of these tasks.

4. In your opinion, what emotion is the most beneficial? Which one is the least useful? 

I think many emotions can be both beneficial and detrimental depending on the degree they are felt and acted upon. Example: There is healthy fear and a debilitating fear.  There is a place for sadness and grief but not despair.

Since we are asked to choose. I’ll choose JOY! Joy lifts up and it is encouraging to be around a joyful person. For my least useful choice I’ll go with anger even though there is a place for anger we are apt to go overboard if we let this emotion take over.

5. What was your favorite thing to do as a kid? Elaborate. 

Read! I can still remember what a joy it was to be able to hold a book in my primary years and read it. Dick and Jane most likely. Then that joy grew. My siblings and I would walk to the library and check out our quota of books to bring home to read. I remember scanning the shelves of books to choose the right ones. In later elementary years a bookmobile would come to our school and I enjoyed that chance to choose books to read, too.

It was 1.7 miles one way from our home in Pico Rivera to the Montebello Library that sat on the grounds of Montebello City park. That library is now a Senior Center. We walked out of our neighborhood (Montebello Gardens) to Whittier Blvd, across the Rio Hondo River bridge and straight on to the library.

6. Insert your own random thought here. 

Our sweet granddaughter who turned six on the first day of Spring, Monday.

Her party was on Saturday. We are so thankful to God that we get to have a granddaughter and grandson to love and watch grow. Posts of the Magical Unicorn Party Here, Here and Here.

We had a wonderful packed weekend. Our Westside kids drove home on Sunday.

Cake, Presents and Party Games!

This money roll from Granny Great and Jim was sooo much fun!

It was so sweet that she tried to read each card before diving into the gift.

Our card read, “Baba and Gramps thank God that He made you and that we get to love you forever!”

Auntie Lolo and Uncle Josh bought the birthday dress, amazing sequenced unicorn jacket and shoes for Addy which was her birthday outfit.

We played a game where we had to hold a plate on top of our heads and attempt to draw a unicorn or a rainbow without taking the plate off of our heads. Addy was the judge and she looked at each drawing carefully and chose the unicorn winner and the rainbow winner…

The winners!

Outside for unicorn ring toss!

Brother preferred riding his jeep.

This party was over and we went home where our kids had planned another meal for dinner and cake for my belated birthday celebration. The fun was constant from our Friday St. Patrick’s day meal through Sunday breakfast before our ‘Westside’ kids drove home. That will be another post.