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Russian Kulich

Kulich is a cylindrical sweet yeast bread served on Easter. This recipe makes about 1 1/4 pounds of dough (before add-ins).
Prep Time3 hrs 20 mins
Cook Time45 mins
Total Time4 hrs 5 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: European, Russian
Keyword: Kulick
Servings: 12
Author: Cookie Madness

Ingredients

Yeast Sponge

  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • 2 tablespoons warm water
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1 1/8 teaspoons active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup all-purpose flour (70 grams)

Dough:

  • 1 large egg white
  • 4 tablespoons unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 4 large egg yolks
  • ½ teaspoon salt
  • 1 teaspoon vanilla
  • 1/2 teaspoon cardamom (can use more if you like)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt halve if using salted butter
  • 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups all-purpose flour (210 grams)

Add-Ins

  • 1 teaspoon orange zest
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins soaked in rum
  • 1/4 cup slivered almonds
  • ½ cup chocolate chips

Glaze:

  • 1 cup confectioners' sugar
  • 1/8 teaspoon almond extract or vanilla extract
  • 1 tablespoon warm water

Instructions

  • In a large glass measuring cup or bowl, combine milk and water and heat in the microwave until hot. Stick a thermometer in the liquid and let cool to between 110 and 115 degrees, then add 2 tablespoons of the sugar and the yeast. Stir well, then stir in ½ cup of the flour. Cover and let stand in a warm place for 1 hour.
  • Whip the egg white into soft peaks and set aside.
  • In the bowl of a stand mixer, beat the butter and remaining 1/4 cup of sugar until creamy, then beat in the egg yolks until well blended.
  • Beat in the salt, vanilla, cardamom and orange zest, then add the flour/yeast mixture.
  • Add the remaining 1 1/2 to 1 3/4 cups of flour, about 1/2 cup at a time, until you have a soft dough. It will be very sticky.
  • Fold the beaten egg white into the dough.
  • Switch to the dough hook and knead for 5 minutes. The dough will be very soft with just a bit of elasticity.
  • Transfer to a well-oiled bowl and let rise for about 90 minutes. Dough may not quite double in size, but it should rise substantially.
  • Punch down dough and add the drained raisins, chocolate and almonds, folding dough around the add-ins the best you can to make a ball.
  • Put the ball of dough in a panettone mold (5 inch base, 4 inch high sides) and let it rise for another hour. Alternatively, you can use two 29 oz cans lined with parchment to make two stumpier but still nice loaves.
  • Set the mold (or molds) on a rimmed baking sheet.
  • Bake the kulich for about 40-45 minutes at 350 or until a meat thermometer inserted measures 205 F. Let cool completely.