Russian Easter Bread (Kulich - Кулич)

Russian Easter Bread (Kulich - Кулич)

If you are looking for a fun Easter-themed project to do with your kids this year, try baking Russian Easter bread. Each piece of kulich is believed to contain a promise of happiness for the year to come, as well as health, good luck, and prosperity.

 

What is Kulich?

Kulich is a lightly sweetened bread that has a mushroom shape. It’s believed to have many mystical properties. One of them is a promise of happiness for the coming year, but only if you eat it right. The right way of eating Kulich meant cutting off the top and then slicing the stem horizontally, replacing the mushroom top to keep the happiness in (or to keep the inside from drying out, if you ask me). 
 
 
When we baked kulich at home we left a bit of dough for little buns (cupcakes), so kids wouldn’t have to wait for the main event and start munching right away. From a religious standpoint, you were not allowed to eat kulich till the day of Easter, but from a parenting perspective, it made a lot of sense to keep the kids happy.  
 

Making Kulich

Ethnic cookbooks often go into elaborate details about how to attain the most authentic results. But it seems to me that all that fuss is largely unnecessarily. It’s much more fun for all the parties involved to simplify as many steps as possible. In this recipe the dough is made in a bread machine, so you can devote your energy where it matters the most – decorating. 

 

My Kulich recipe comes from a family cookbook. I had to adjust proportions to better suit the American system of weights and measures. 

 

Another thing we changed is skipping candied fruits and nuts in the dough because my kids don’t like hard stuff in their bread. 
 
 
The great news is that you don’t need any special baking pans to make kulich at home. Just buy a few cans of beans or whatever else is sold in metal cans in your town. Those metal tins produce cakes of just the right shape!  
 

 Kulich (bread machine dough)

What you need

1/2 cup milk
1/3 cup water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla extract
3 teaspoon lemon flavor
2 Tablespoons oil
1 teaspoon salt
3 cups bread flour
2 Tablespoons sugar
1/2 cup candied fruits and peels (optional)
chopped nuts (optional to taste)
lemon or orange peel 
2 1/4 teaspoons Yeast
 
 
 
 
 
  1. Ask your helper to add all the ingredients to a bread machine pan in the order suggested by the manufacturer. Select dough/manual cycle. When cycle is complete, remove dough from machine to a lightly floured surface. If the dough is too sticky, add a tiny bit of flour. My dough (below) doesn’t have any candied fruits or nuts because my kids won’t have them.
  2. Coat the inside of your clean cans with butter (or PAM) and line with parchment paper. This recipe is good for four 12-ounce cans. Here I’m using a 10-ounce can and a 12-ounce can, and we used the rest of the dough to make 12 Easter muffins.
  3. Divide your dough between your cans. One important thing to remember is that it’s going to rise A LOT! More than once my Kulich bread was so heavy on top that it fell over. If you don’t want that to happen to you, fill the cans no more than 3/4 full.
  4. Cover cans with plastic wrap or towel and allow the dough to rise to the edge of the can. While you are waiting for the dough to raise take care of those muffins if you left some of the dough for them. Just fill the paper-lined muffin pan cups half way and let them raise while you are getting the oven up to 350F.
  5. Preheat oven to 350F.
  6. Place the cans of dough upright into the oven on baking sheet. Add the muffins. I have a convection oven and it bakes everything super fast.  So my muffins were ready in 15 minutes and Kulich in 25. You might have to adjust your cooking time. It’s ready when it’s lightly browned.
 
 
Now the most exciting part frosting! 
 

Frosting

We like to have a variety of options. Pick one or better yet try all three. 
 
Disclaimer: this post contains Amazon affiliate links. Kid Minds gets commissions from qualified purchases. 
 

Butter-Lemon Frosting  (Kulich 1)

1 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon butter (melted) 
1 Tablespoon milk
1/2 teaspoon lemon flavor
 
Mix it with a spoon in a small bowl. Frost generously. I added some orange peel on top for decoration, while the frosting was still wet and sticky and then refrigerated Kulich. 
 
 

Lemon Frosting (Kulich 2)

1 cup confectioners sugar
2 Tablespoons milk
1 teaspoon lemon flavor
 
Mix it with a spoon in a small bowl. Frost. If you are planning to use sprinkles, pick a healthier kind. All Natural Sprinkles

 

Vanilla Frosting (cupcakes)
1 cup confectioners sugar
1 Tablespoon milk
2 teaspoons vanilla extract
1/2 teaspoon food coloring (All Natural Food Coloring)
Mix all ingredients in a small bowl with a spoon. Frost generously.    
 
 
 
And now it’s time for a feast!
 

 

 

 Have you ever tried Kulich?  

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