Easter is considered the most important event in the Christian world—yes, even more important than Christmas. It is not surprising that Christians put out all the stops to celebrate this occasion.
With Easter cookies, we all know about Easter eggs, which are decorated and made into a breakfast item, will be not missed on Easter Days. I am sure that you have, at one point in your life, hunted, ate, made or seen an Easter egg.
But do you realize that there are other foods prepared in other parts of the world to celebrate the resurrection of Jesus?
Kulich: An Easter Bread Enjoyed in Russia
Kulich is a roll or loaf of bread that is blessed by a priest and eaten for breakfast by Christians in Russia. It is the Russian counterpart of hot cross bun, or those sweet tasty treats that are part of Lent celebrations in the UK and Australia.
But this bread isn’t just popular in Russia. It is also eaten in other countries such as Bulgaria, Georgia, Belarus, Macedonia, Serbia, and Ukraine.
Russian Kulich is traditionally eaten between Easter and Pentecost, or the Christian celebration that commemorates the descent of the Holy Spirit to the apostles. This occasion is celebrated about 50 days after Easter. Unblessed leftover Kulich is then made into Paskha, a sweet dessert that I have tried baking.
Kulich is so popular in Russia that it basically replaces bread during the entire commemoration of Holy Week in Moscow, the capital city.
How does it taste like?
If you have eaten Italian panettone, then you will have an idea on what kulich tastes like. Both breads are sweet and light textured.
The combination of dried fruits, candied fruits, spices, and almonds give kulich a more distinct taste, though. Kulich also has a light texture and a buttery richness.
You don’t need to wait for Easter to come in order to bake your own Kulich. In this article, I am sharing you a simple Kulich Russian Easter bread recipe.
In this recipe, we will replace the candied and dried fruits with lemon zest to come up with a more nutritious bread that won't cause you to gain extra pounds.
How to Make Kulich Russian Easter Bread
You will need about 6 hours and 30 minutes of preparation time for this recipe, and about 35 minutes of cooking. Yes, it may take you a while to make this bread but I can guarantee you that this one is worth the effort.
Plus, you can make three loaves of bread with this recipe. That should be enough to feed 3-5 people.
Here are the ingredients you will need for this recipe:
- 2 cups and 2 tablespoons of warm whole milk
- Six eggs
- 1 tablespoon of active dry yeast
- 2 cups sugar
- 2 sticks of unsalted butter
- ½ teaspoon of salt
- ½ cup of sour cream
- 1 teaspoon of vanilla
- 9 cups of all purpose Canadian flour
- 3 lemons, zest it
- 2 cups of poppy seeds
You will also need the following recipes for the topping:
- 3 tablespoons of lemon juice
- 2 cups of powdered sugar
Step by step guide
- Whisk two cups and two tablespoons of warm milk together with the eggs, yeast, sugar, melted butter, salt, sour cream, and teaspoon in one large mixing bowl. Whisk in four cups of flour. Aim to have a batter that is as thick as sour cream.
- Cover and let it rise in a warm place, like in an area where there's sunlight. You can also put this in an oven with a temperature of over 100 degrees Fahrenheit for about two hours. Don’t put the mixture in a hot oven because it can kill or deactivate the yeast.
- Add five cups of flour or about one cup of flour one at a time. Add flour until the dough no longer sticks to your hands. The dough should be soft.
- Stir in 1 ½ cups of poppy seeds and lemon zest. Cover the mixture and let the dough rise by putting it in a warm oven for another 2 hours.
- Bake for 30 to 35 minutes at a temperature setting of 350 degrees Fahrenheit. Place it in the center of the oven. You’ll know that the bread is done when its top is golden brown. Let it cool to room temperature before you tear off the wrapper.
- Get the frosting ready once the bread is at room temperature. Whisk together 2 cups of powdered sugar with three tablespoons of lemon juice in medium bowl. Add water if you find the frosting to be thick, or more powdered sugar if you find it too runny. Pour this over the cooled Easter bread.
That's it! You now have Russian Kulich that you can serve to your guests and loved ones.
What do you think of this recipe? Let us know on the comments section. Or better yet, share this article if you find the recipe interesting.