Russian Easter Bread (Kulich)
It is traditional to make the design XB meaning "Christ is risen" on
top of each of these little towering loaves.
- 2 packages active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (105 to 115 degrees F)
- 3/4 cup lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)
- 1/3 cup granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs
- 1/2 cup shortening
- 1/2 cup raisins
- 1/2 cup cut-up mixed candied fruit
- 1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
- 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
- 4 1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup confectioners' sugar
- 1 tablespoon warm water
- 1 teaspoon lemon juice
- Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl.
- Stir in milk, sugar, salt, eggs,
shortening, raisins, candied fruit, almonds, lemon peel and 3 cups of the flour.
Beat until smooth.
- Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
- Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 5
- Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place until
double, 1 to 1 1/2 hours. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.
- Punch dough down; divide into halves. Shape each half into round bun-shaped loaf.
- Place in two well-greased 3-pound shortening cans.*
- Let rise until double, 40 to 50 minutes.
- Heat oven to 375 degrees F.
- Place cans on low rack so that midpoint of each can is in center of oven.
- Bake until tops are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. If tops
brown too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.
- Cool for 10 minutes.
- Remove from cans.
- Spoon Lemon Icing over tops of warm bread, allowing some to
drizzle down sides.
- Trim with tiny decorating candies if desired.
- Lemon Icing: Mix confectioners' sugar, water and lemon juice until smooth.
Icing should be of glaze consistency. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons water if necessary.
* Two (46-ounce) juice cans can be substituted for the 3-pound shortening cans.