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Russian Easter Bread (Kulich)

Baked in coffee cans to achieve the traditional cylindrical (church-tower) shape, these frosted loaves are an important part of the Russian Orthodox Easter celebration, often served with a pyramid-shape cheese mixture called pashka.

Ingredients

Bread

Icing

Instructions

  1. Bread: Combine 3 1/2 cups flour, yeast, granulated sugar and salt. Melt butter; add water and heat.
  2. Beat hot liquid and eggs into flour mixture until smooth. Stir in raisins, almonds and lemon peel. With hands, gradually mix in enough of remaining flour to make dough stiff enough to leave side of bowl. Knead dough 5 to 10 minutes. Place in a lightly greased, large bowl; cover and let rise until almost double, 30 to 45 minutes.
  3. Grease well 3 (1-pound) coffee cans. Divide dough into 3 equal parts; shape each part into a smooth ball. Place each ball in a can. Cover; let dough rise until double in bulk and slightly above tops of cans, 45 to 50 minutes.
  4. Heat oven to 375 degrees F. Bake loaves on lowest rack of oven 30 to 35 minutes, or until golden brown. Place on wire racks; cool 5 minutes.
  5. Remove from cans; finish cooling on wire racks.
  6. Icing: Combine confectioners' sugar and enough lemon juice to make mixture smooth and spoonable. Spread icing over tops of warm loaves; drizzle some down sides. Sprinkle with decorations.
  7. To serve, cut each loaf crosswise into 15 (1/2-inch) slices. Nice served with whipped butter.

Yield: 3 loaves

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