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Kulich Bread

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Kulich Bread is a traditional Russian loaf given to friends that come to visit for good luck. The added dried fruits and nuts add so much flavor and texture. It is an excellent with brunch served with Paskha.

You may make the dough ahead of time and freeze. Allow to fully thaw for at least one hour prior to baking.

Ingredients:

Dough:

3 teaspoons active dry yeast

1/4 cup warm milk (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)

1 egg plus enough water to equal 3/4 cup total

2 tablespoons honey

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 1/2 teaspoons salt

3 cups bread flour

1/4 cup raisins

1/2 cup of mixed chopped dried fruit (apricots, cherries, pineapple, apple, prunes, figs, dates, any dried fruit you like)

2 1/4 cup toasted almonds

1/2 teaspoon fresh lemon zest

Glaze:

1 tablespoon honey

1 tablespoon triple sec

1 tablespoon fresh lemon juice

Paskha:

zest of 1 lemon

2 egg yolks

1/2 cup raisins

1/2 cup toasted almonds

1/4 cup rum

1/4 cup butter softened

1 cup powdered sugar

1 teaspoon vanilla extract

1 6oz package cream cheese

Instructions:

Two days before making the bread start the Paskha.

Paskha:

Soak the raisins in the rum overnight.

Strain the raisins reserving the rum. The following day mix together the cream cheese and the butter. When combined mix in the egg yolks, powdered sugar, lemon zest, and vanilla. Mix until fully incorporated. Fold in the raisins, almonds, and the remaining rum.

Cover and refrigerate overnight.

Dough:

 

In a small mixing bowl combine the warm milk and honey. When fully blended add the yeast and stir until dissolved.  Set aside for 5 minutes to rest. The yeast mixture will be ready when it is all bubbly.

In a medium size mixing bowl combine the bread flour, and salt.

In a large mixing bowl combine the egg and water mixture, vanilla, and lemon peel. Mix until fully combined. Add the yeast mixture and stir until mixed. Then add the flour mixture to the yeast mixture. Combine until a soft dough ball forms. You made need more or less flour.

Turn the dough out onto lightly floured surface. Knead until smooth, shiny, and satiny or about 10 – 15 minutes. Only add enough flour to keep dough from sticking to board and.

Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl. Turn dough several times to coat all sides. Cover with damp clean cloth and let rise in warm, draft-free place for about 1 hour or until double in size. I like to place it on the top of my stove as it pre-heats.

When the dough is ready punch it down.

Place the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead for 5 minutes. During the final 2 minutes of kneading add the raisins, mixed dried fruit, and toasted almonds to the dough.

Lightly oil a baking sheet.

Divide the dough into 5 equal pieces and shape into balls. Place the balls of dough onto the baking sheet in a ring just so that they are barely touching each other.

Lightly oil the tops of the dough. Cover with damp clean cloth and let rise in warm, draft-free place for about 30 minutes.

Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (190 degrees C).

Place the baking into the oven and bake for 25 to 35 minutes, or until tops are dark golden brown. The Kulich Bread will sound hollow when done.

Remove the Kulich Bread from the oven and turn out of the pan onto a wire rack to cool.

Mix together the honey, lemon juice, and triple sec. Once fully mixed brush over the top of the hot Kulich Bread.

Allow to cool completely prior to serving.

Serve Kulich Bread with the prepared Paskha.

Enjoy

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