Russian Easter Bread
Kulich is only consumed during the forty days after Easter. It is not baked any other time of the year. We are supposed to have fasted for forty days prior to Easter. (Oops I think I just admitted that I never can make it all the way through lent without cheating). Our fast is very strict. It is a complete fish and vegetarian diet. No animal products are allowed. The Kulich is very rich in butter and eggs and is used to break the fast. Thispoem by my cousin Wayne explains the meaning of this holiday treat.
What is significance of the Red Easter Egg?
The red dye on the outside represents the Blood of Christ. The yolk represents the new life given to us after Christ rose from the dead. In Kenai the Priest hands an egg and an icon to each parishioner after the Pascha service.
This is the best recipe I have used for Easter bread. It is usually baked in round cans (coffee) so cooking time will vary according to the size of the can. After cooling you can either glaze the bread or frost and decorate elaborately. Usually we make at least one fancy bread, surround it by colored eggs (red) and take it to church on Easter to have it blessed. The family then enjoys it for either Easter Breakfast or Dinner. For more information please read the Orthodoxquestions and answers.
Contributed by: Marie Coffel
2 pkg. rapid rise yeast
3/4 cup lukewarm water
4 cups evaporated milk (do not dilute use straight from the can)
1 cup sugar
4 cups flour
*1 Tbsp. ground cardamom
1 1/2 cups butter
3 cups sugar
2 Tbsp. salt
1 Tbsp. vanilla
1 Tbsp. grated orange peel
1 Tbsp. grated lemon peel
12 cups flour
3 cups raisins (white or dark)
1 cup chopped walnuts
Dissolve yeast in the lukewarm water. Set aside. Scald and cool to lukewarm the 4 cups
milk. Add yeast and the 1 cup sugar, 4 cups of the flour and the cardamom to the
lukewarm milk. Mix into a smooth sponge and set in a warm place for approximately 2
hours. When sponge is done resting, melt and warm the butter. Stir the sugar, salt,
vanilla and zest into the butter and add to the sponge. Gradually work in the flour
until the dough is smooth and elastic. Knead for 5 minutes. Add nuts and raisins and
knead another 5 minutes. Place in greased bowl and oil or butte dough to prevent crust
from forming. Let rise until double in bulk. Roll into various sized balls and place in
greased various sized metal cans you have saved. Oil the top of dough. Bake in a
350-degree oven. Baking time will vary depending on size of cans. When dough is done
remove from pan and butter the crust. Place on baking rack to cool. *Note You may
substitute almond or lemon extract for cardamom. Editors note: Easter Bread is
consumed on Easter Sunday to break the Lenten Fast and used for forty days after
Easter. Marie is one of Chuda's Children from Kenai. This recipe is not the traditional
one because of the addition of peels and cardamom, which was not available in the
villages. The rest is similar. This is a wonderful Easter Bread.
The brightest and most colorful eggs are made by using vinegar, boiling water and Wilton's food coloring paste. I recommend wearing rubber gloves because this dye tends to stain your hands.