Easter Bread Kulich (Paska)

Kulich (Paska) is the traditional Easter Bread in Georgia and other countries in Eastern Europe.  There are so many amazing recipes out there, you won’t go wrong with any of them. This one I find is relatively easy and turns out absolutely delicious! overall it takes 7-8 hours to make this Kulich, but actual involved time is no more than 40 min, spread across these 8 hours.
Kulich_sugar powder
Let’s start. I suggest starting with placing all the ingredients on the kitchen counter, so that nothing is forgotten along the way.  This all might sounds complicated, but it really isn’t. The whole process is split in 4 stages.
Ingredients (makes 3 large breads – 6.75 X 4.25in. I ordered large Panettone molds off Amazon)
Stage 1
  • 2 cups of milk
  • 1 table spoon of dry yeast (I use Fleishmann’s)
  • 1 table spoon of sugar
Stage 2
  • 6 eggs room temperature
  • 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 2 cups of brown sugar
  • 230 grams of clarified butter (that’s melted butter without the white bits. Leave melted butter to stand for a few seconds and pour in the bowl without the white foam on top and milk solids at the bottom)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 4 cups of sifted flour
  • Spices – 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon, 1 teaspoon nutmeg, 1 teaspoon cardamom
Stage 3
  • 3 tablespoons of honey
  • 1/2 lemon zest
  • 5 cups of sifted flour
  • 1 cup raisins or dried fruit or leave these out altogether
  • Bit of oil
Stage 4
  • Powdered sugar for topping or you could make frosting or glaze too.
Process (Pictures below):
Stage 1
Warm the milk in a small pot. Pour in a large bowl, add yeast and sugar and whisk together. Leave to rest for 5-10 min.
Stage 2
Add the rest of stage 2 ingredients (6 eggs, 1/2 cup sour cream, 2 cups brown sugar, 230g melted clarified butter, 1/2 teaspoon salt, 1 teaspoon of each – vanilla extract, cardamom, cinnamon and nutmeg).  whisk well and start adding sifted flour 1 cup at a time. whisk together well so that there are no lumps. The batter will be like thick liquid. That’s ok! Cover with plastic wrap and leave in warm place to rise for 2 hours. I keep it under the heat lamps in the kitchen. But any warm place is fine.
Stage 3
Remove the plastic wrap, gently fold in honey and lemon zest. Then start adding remaining 5 cups of sifted flour and knead the dough with wooden spoon. Dough will be thick but still a little sticky. Mix in the raisins. Cover with plastic wrap and a towel on top, leave in warm place to rise another 2 hours.
Stage 4
Remove plastic wrap. Gently split the dough in 3 parts. Put small amount of oil on hands. Pick the dough and gently, without punching or kneading, form a circle and place in paper molds. Leave to rise without cover in a warm place for 2 hours.
Preheat oven to 350F. Place paper molds on baking tray and place in the breads in the oven for 40 min, until top is golden brown. I baked all 3 at the same time.  If there is not enough space in the oven, they can be baked separately.  This is important! – Do not open oven door for first 30 min. I bake at 350F first 30 min, then reduce to 325F, just because my oven tends to bake faster.
Take the breads out and leave to cool and settle until next day. You might be tempted to have a slice straight out of the oven, but they taste so much better the next morning!

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