Easter is this time of the year when everybody in Bulgaria makes (or rather buys) Kozunak. In our family my mother is the great “Kozunak Master” but I'll write more about this into the next post. The point is, we don't make Kozunak since we don't “mess” with the Master. However, this year we decided to make a Russian Easter bread – Kulich. To be honest I don't see a lot of difference in the various Easter breads, no matter where they come from. But they are rich and extremely tasty.
Normally when cooled Kulich is decorated with white icing, which is slightly drizzled down the sides, but since I hate this icing taste we skipped this step and instead we sprinkled some sugar on top.
Note: Since Kulich is a tall type of bread, it's better to place the rack on the lowest section of the oven. In order not to burn it's bottom, use a double bottom baking dish. (And beware not to forget it in the oven like we did.)
Makes one tall loaf (15 cm in diameter and around 15 cm tall)
- 250 ml whole milk;
- 1 Tbsp sugar;
- 1 Tbsp safflower;
- 2 Tbsp all purpose flour;
- 30 gr fresh yeast;
- 25 ml rum;
- 270 gr dry fruits (we used 20 gr currants, 50 gr sultanas, 50 gr dry apricots, 50 gr candied orange peels, 50 gr candied lemon peels, 50 gr sour cherries soaked in rum);
- 3 eggs(room temperature);
- 2 egg yolks(room temperature);
- 1 tsp vanilla extract;
- pinch of salt;
- 150 gr sugar;
- 150 gr butter (melted and cooled);
- 550 gr all purpose flour(sifted).
Bring milk, sugar(1 Tbsp) and safflower to a simmer (the milk will turn nicely yellow). Leave it to cool until lukewarm. Then mix in yeast and flour(2 Tbsp). Let it prove(bubble) for about 15 minutes.
In a large bowl beat eggs, yolks, sugar, salt and vanilla extract (use hand mixer or just a whisk). Mix in melted butter, then mix in the yeasty mixture. Equip the hand(or stand) mixer with dough hook/s and add flour. Mix for around 20 minutes. At the end add dry fruits and rum and mix well to incorporate them. The dough is sticky, so it's not possible to knead it by hand. Cover the bowl and leave the dough to become double in bulk. Meanwhile line a deep baking dish (we used a 15 cm oven-proof double bottom saucepan) with paper (or better panettone paper cups). Transfer the dough into the paper lined baking dish, cover it and leave it to prove again for around 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 200º C. Bake for 10 minutes, then reduce the temperature to 180º C and bake for 50 to 60 more minutes. Remove from the oven and leave it to cool for 20 minutes in the baking dish, then take it out of the baking dish and place on a wire rack. When cooled decorate with icing.
We are sending this to Susan for her YeastSpotting round-up.