Kulich (Russian Easter Bread)

Independent Media
There are lots of ways to bake kulichi and every version has its own secrets. It is not quick or easy, and demands both patience and skill. Here is one of the simpler recipes.

2 pkg. yeast
1/2 c. warm milk
6 1/2 c. flour
1/2 c. raisins
4 eggs plus 2 yolks, beaten
1 c. butter, melted
1/2 tsp. vanilla
1/2 c. honey
1/2 tsp. salt
1 c. sugar
2 tbsp. salad oil

Dissolve yeast in 1/2 c. warm water in large bowl. Add milk and 1 1/2 cups flour; stir until smooth. Cover and let rise until doubled, three hours or more. Beat down dough. Add raisins (soaked in sherry for about half an hour before) and all the rest of the ingredients. Gradually beat in remaining flour. Knead well in bowl until dough is smooth and elastic.

Grease two tall 1-pound coffee cans. Fit each with a collar of greased brown paper for height. Fill pans half full of dough. Cover and let rise until doubled, at least 1 hour. Bake in 150 degree oven about 1 hour or until well browned. Cool 10 minutes, then remove from pans and place on racks to cool.

1 c. confectioners' sugar
1/2 tsp. vanilla
4 tbsp. heavy cream

Combine glaze ingredients and beat until smooth. When bread is cool, spread with glaze, allowing some to drizzle down the sides.