Kulich – Russian Easter bread

Makes 6
40 minutes

Ingredients

Kulich

  • 450g of strong white bread flour
  • 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 1/2 tsp mixed spice
  • 1/2 tsp cinnamon
  • 50g of butter
  • 50g of caster sugar
  • 14g of fast-action dried yeast, (2 packets)
  • 210ml of milk, tepid
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 100g of mixed dried fruits
  • 25g of citrus peel, mixed

Icing

  • 100g of icing sugar
  • 1/2 lemon, juice only

To decorate

  • 8 glacé cherries, quartered
  • almonds, toasted
  • sprinkles

Method

1
Begin by washing and drying 6 tin cans. Butter the tins well and line each with some buttered baking paper into each one
2
Sieve the flour, salt, ground mixed spice and cinnamon into a large mixing bowl and rub in the butter using your fingertips. Make a well in the centre of the mixture and add the sugar and yeast
3
Add the beaten egg and tepid milk to the flour and mix together to a form a soft, pliable dough
4
Turn out the dough onto a lightly floured work surface. Carefully work the mixed dried fruit and mixed peel into the dough until well combined. Knead lightly for 5 minutes, or until smooth and elastic
5
Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a buttered mixing bowl, then cover with a clean tea towel and set aside in a warm place for 1 hour to prove
6
Turn out the proved dough onto a lightly floured work surface and knock back the dough. Shape it into a ball again and return it to the bowl, then cover again with the tea towel and set aside for a further 30 minutes to prove
7
Place the dough onto a lightly floured work surface and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a ball, then roll them into a long cylinder shape and put them into the buttered and paper lined tins. Cover the tins with a tea towel and set aside to rise for 25–30 minutes
8
Preheat an oven to 240°C/gas mark 8
9
Once the buns have risen in the tins to about ¾ of the way up, place them on a baking sheet and bake for 25–35 minutes, or until pale golden-brown and sound hollow when turned over and tapped on
10
Turn the Kulich out of the tins onto a wire cooling rack and allow to cool completely before icing
11
To make the icing, add the lemon juice to the icing sugar, spoon by spoon, until you have a thick but runny icing that that will cover the kulich buns and dribble a little down the sides. Spoon the icing over kulich and scatter the glacé cherries, toasted almonds and sprinkles over the top