Kulich (also known as Paska) is a classic Easter Bread. A tradition shared by Russian and Ukrainian people, this recipe came to me from an Orthodox Christian Nun and has been converted for use with einkorn flour!
Kulich is also known as Paska - though Paska (or Pashka) can also refer to a sweet cheese pyramid that is often served with Kulich - is a cross between cake and bread, and is traditionally served at Easter.
When I was checking my email over the weekend, I was very surprised to find an email request for help converting a Kulich recipe to einkorn flour, from an Orthodox Christian Nun in upstate New York.
I often have requests to help convert old family recipes to einkorn, and find much joy in helping preserve these family recipes.
This request for Kulich fell into this same category. Keeping traditions alive and well, while keeping people alive and well with einkorn is a great blessing to me.
Einkorn Paska Easter Bread Recipe (Kulich)
While I had never heard of Kulich, I was thrilled to see that the Sister had included her recipe and I jumped at the chance to bake it right away.
A cross between a pound cake and a yeast bread, and drizzled with a simple icing and orange zest, I knew this recipe was going to be a new favorite!
And with Orthodox Easter coming up in just a few days, I wanted to make sure that she could enjoy this special tradition with einkorn flour this year.
She mentioned that this cake/bread was baked in a coffee can and, as is so happened, I had just purchased a can of coffee that very day (for the first time in a decade!).
It was meant to be!
While the ingredients read like a cake (a lot of sugar and a ton of eggs, and covered in icing), this cake is much more sturdy that a standard "cake" and is often toasted and eaten as bread.
The original instructions had a triple rise taking place over the course of almost a full day.
However, I'm happy to report that this recipe after being adapted for einkorn (which doesn't like long rise times) can be made over the course of just 2 hours!
The sister sent me a few pictures of her finished kulich breads and has graciously allowed me to share them with you! These photos and the original recipe are courtesy of Saint Elizabeth Skete ROCOR.
Storing Einkorn Paska Easter Bread (Kulich)
Since this is a fresh homemade bread, made without any preservatives, you can leave it covered on the counter for a few days.
Or you can store it for up to 10 days in the fridge, or up to 3 months in the freezer.
For freezing, simply leave off the icing until the day you want to enjoy the kulich, place the bread into a ziploc bag, and freeze!
Thawing can be done in the fridge overnight, and then you can heat and ice it as desired.
A final note from the sister on serving kulich
"When you serve kulich, slice on its side into discs. It can be toasted and best served with Paska (a sweet cheese pyramid that is delicious, also known as Pashka), butter, jam, or butter and jam, or just plain!
Keep the top and bottom of kulich from being eaten until you have eaten the middle so that the inside stays fresh.
Store the cut kulich in the fridge. Uncut kulich can be frozen in freezer bags for months with the air removed."
Einkorn Paska Easter Bread (Kulich)
- 2 tbsp yeast
- 2 cup warm milk
- 1 1/2 cup sugar
- 9.5 cup All Purpose einkorn flour (1140g)
- 16 egg yolks
- 2 tsp vanilla
- 1 tsp cardamon
- 1 lb butter (melted and cooled)
- 1/2 tsp powdered ginger
- Pinch salt
- 1 cup powdered sugar
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp grated orange zest (reserve half)
- 3 tbsp heavy cream (or you can use orange juice instead)
- Mix all dry ingredients EXCEPT 3C of flour, fluff with a fork to ensure yeast and ginger is well mixed.
- Add remaining wet ingredients, mix until very smooth (about 5 minutes)
- Cover and let rise for 25 minutes.
- Uncover dough and mix in the remaining 3C of flour. Mix until smooth, cover and let rise for 20 minutes.
- Into parchment lined cans (or paper baking cups) pour batter to half-way.
- Pre-heat oven to 350°F and let batter rise uncovered for 20 minutes.
- Bake for 25-35 minutes, or until you get a clean toothpick test.Note: 350 may be too hot for your oven, so if the bottoms are too dark, lower the temp to 335° and know that you may need to bake it for a bit longer to get a clean toothpick test.
- Allow bread to cool slightly, then remove from the cans and remove the paper. Place breads on their sides on a towel. Roll them often as they cool to prevent moisture build up.
- Combine half of the orange zest, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar in a medium bowl.
- Add heavy cream slowly, while whisking the mixture, until it reaches a pouring consistency. NOTE: You don't want to it be like water, just thin enough to pour, but thick enough to not run right off.
- Allow the bread to cool thoroughly and gently pour the icing over the tops of the breads.