Easter Bread (Kulitch)

Easter Bread (Kulitch)

Easter cakes are usually made from yeast batter. This allows them to stay fresh and soft longer which is perfect for these cakes since they’re prepared a few days before Easter and eaten during the whole Easter week.

Oxana Putan
Ingredients for 8 cakes:
4 eggs
0.5 quart milk
6-8 tablespoons sugar
1 packet dry yeast (0.4 oz) or 2 oz fresh yeast
2 teaspoons finely ground salt
2.2 lbs all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon vanilla
0.5 lb dried fruit (apricots, raisins, cherries, etc.)
6 oz butter
4 oz powdered sugar
Round baking dishes (preferably narrow and tall)
Sprinkles (for decoration)
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This recipe yields about 3.5 lbs of the batter or 8 smaller Easter cakes (about half a pound each). It’s best to use special narrow tall baking dishes – about 3-4” in diameter and 5-6” tall. Such dishes may be available in Russian/Ukrainian stores. If you can’t find them, you have three options: to end up with the correct cake shape of an Orthodox Christian church dome, you can use metal cans – similar to the 24-oz ones that canned tomatoes come in at a supermarket, or coffee cans. If using such cans, make sure you peel the paper labels from them and clean them thoroughly. Another option would be using 20 large paper muffin cups – but the dough will need to be divided into 20 parts for 20 cakes – and the cooking time for these would be shorter as they’re smaller. 
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Bring the milk to the room temperature. Pour the milk into a deep bowl.

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Add all the sugar.

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Add the yeast.  

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Add 1 lb of the flour.

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Mix well. This batter is easily stirred with a fork.

Cover the bowl with the batter with plastic film and leave for 4-5 hours.

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At first you’ll notice the batter almost tripling in size. 

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Then it’ll start dropping which means it’s ready.

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Prepare the dried fruit: raisins, apricots cut into small pieces, cherries cut in half. You can also add pieces of dried pine apples and some crushed walnuts – as you wish.

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Melt the butter.

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Break the eggs and carefully separate the yolks. Refrigerate the egg whites.

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Stir the egg yolks with a fork.

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Add the salt to the bowl with the batter.

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Pour in the dried fruit mixture.

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Add the vanilla together with the egg yolks (you can use vanilla sugar if you wish).

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Stir well.

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Add the remaining 1 lb of the flour. 

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Start kneading the dough with your hands.

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When the flour is combined with the batter, pour in the melted butter.

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Knead the dough well.

Cover the bowl with the dough with plastic film and set aside for an hour.

The batter should rise considerably - about twice its size.

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Divide the batter into 8 equal parts if using the cans (or 20 equal parts if using the muffin cups).

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Roll each part into a ball.

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Grease the baking dishes well with any vegetable oil. For best results, line the bottom of each can with parchment or wax paper.

Transfer each dough ball into a baking dish.

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Place the baking dishes with the dough on the baking sheet. Cover with plastic film.

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The dough in this recipe should rise 3 times: the first time as the initial batter, the second time – as the intermediate dough in the bowl, and the third time – as individual cakes in the baking dishes.

Wait till the dough in each dish rises till almost the edge of the baking dish in the center while reaching about a half-inch below the edges.

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Preheat the oven to 425F.

Place the baking sheet with the cakes into the oven.

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Bake for 30-35 minutes (or for 20 minutes if using muffin cups).

If the cakes start burning on top, cover them with foil but do not decrease the baking time.

While the cakes are baking, prepare the glaze.

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Take the refrigerated egg whites and add the powdered sugar.

Beat with a mixer for about 5-6 minutes or till stiff peaks form.

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Remove the cakes from the oven and immediately cover the tops with the glaze. It’s important to glaze them while they’re still hot: this way the glaze will cool off as a rich white cloud.  

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Decorate the glaze with the colorful sprinkles.
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The cakes are ready!

Enjoy them with your guests!

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