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Kulich

Yield 8 to 10 servings
After being iced, the bread is topped with raisins to form the letters XB, meaning "Christ has risen."

Ingredients

  • 1/4 cup golden raisins
  • 1 (1/4-ounce) envelope active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1 1/2 teaspoons vanilla extract, divided
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 teaspoons grated lemon rind
  • 2 teaspoons brandy or rum
  • 3/4 cup warm milk (100° to 110°)
  • 1/4 cup butter or margarine, melted
  • 2 large eggs
  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped
  • 1/4 cup dried orange peel
  • 1 cup powdered sugar
  • 1 tablespoon milk
  • 1/2 cup raisins

How to Make It

  1. Place 1/4 cup golden raisins in a bowl, and cover with boiling water. Let stand 15 minutes. Drain and pat dry; set aside.

  2. Combine yeast and 1/4 cup warm water in a large mixing bowl; let stand 5 minutes.

  3. Add 1 teaspoon vanilla, sugar, and next 6 ingredients to yeast mixture; beat at medium speed with an electric mixer until well blended. Gradually stir in enough flour to make a soft dough.

  4. Turn dough out onto a well-floured surface, and knead until dough is smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes). Place in a well-greased bowl, turning to grease top.

  5. Cover and let rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

  6. Punch dough down; turn out onto a well-floured surface. Press dough flat, and work golden raisins, almonds, and orange peel evenly into dough.

  7. Shape dough into a ball; press, seam side down, into a greased 2-pound coffee can, filling half of can.

  8. Cover with wax paper, and let dough rise in a warm place (85°), free from drafts, 30 to 45 minutes or just until dough reaches top of can. (Do not let rise above top.)

  9. Bake at 375° for 40 to 45 minutes or until a long wooden pick inserted in center comes out clean. Remove from can, and place on a serving plate.

  10. Stir together remaining 1/2 teaspoon vanilla, powdered sugar, and milk until mixture is blended; spread over warm bread. Press 1/2 cup raisins into top of bread, forming initials "XB."