To some extent, Russian kulichcakes resemble English yeast cakes – cupcakes. However, the differences between these dishes are notable.
A real Russian kulichcake is more dense and springy in consistency. And, most importantly, its delicate flavor is incomparable to the taste of other pastries. In Russia, kulich cakes were rarely baked, only on major holidays. In the last few centurieskulich cakes are only made for Easter.
Ingredients for Kulich Cake
Because of the value of ingredients that go into kulich cake, they are rarely baked in Russia. The flour should be only the highest grade wheat flour. It is carefully sifted through a fine sieve. All other ingredients should be as fresh as possible – eggs, milk, cream, butter and yeast. Refined sugar is preferred. Besides the main products, kulich cakes can have various additives. Depending on your preferences, these may be raisins, citrus peel, candied fruits, nuts or vanilla. A beautiful yellow color of kulich cake is achieved by adding saffron.
Making a Dough
The technology of making kulich dough always remains unchanged. First, pre-dough is made, then (30 minutes later) the batter is kneaded using a mixture of eggs and milk. Then the dough is kneadedand left in a warm place for several hours. When the dough has risen, it’s kneaded again adding raisins, nuts and other ingredients. Then it is placed in baking dishes and baked.
Kulich cakes are baked in special forms layered with oiled paper. The dough is placed in formsto about a half point, because it rises in the baking process. Baking time depends on the weight of kulich cakes. William Pohlebkin, a historian of Russian cuisine, mentions this recipe: a 1 kg kulich cake should be baked or 45 minutes, 1.5 kg – 1 hour, 2 kg – 1.5 hours.
When kulich is ready and hot, it is covered with icing and sprinkled with colored confectionerysprinkles. In the old days people used colored milletinstead of sprinkles.
Real Russian kulich cakes are stored up to a week, while remaining soft and wonderfully fragrant.
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