Catholic Recipe: Koulich (Russian Sweet Easter Bread)
Also Called: Kulich; Resurrection Bread; Koolitch; Koulitchy
In the older Russia Easter was a day of great feasting. On long tables were placed roasted pig and sausages and sweet tarts. And there was especially the Paskha of cheese and the Koulich, the latter a bread so delicate that pillows were put about the pan in which the dough was rising so that it would not fall; anxious housewives kept husbands with heavy boots and frolicking children out of the kitchen until the Koulich was safely out of the oven. Deep in the top of this cake were formed the letters "X V", the initials of the words meaning "Christ is risen."
Soak the raisins in the rum. Soak the yeast in the lukewarm water. Mix 5 cups of the flour with the milk which has been cooled; combine with the yeast and beat well. Allow to rise for three hours in a warm place. Beat the yolks of 5 eggs with the sugar. Mix with the batter. Melt the butter, mix with the salt and the raisins, and add to the batter. Sift the rest of the flour with the saffron. Mix into the batter and knead well. Bake in a pan that should be about 12 inches high (a lard pail will do). Brush with butter and set to rise again till double in bulk. Brush top with egg yoke; bake in a 400° F. oven for fifteen minutes and then reduce heat to 350° F. for another forty-five minutes or until done.Recipe Source: Feast Day Cookbook by Katherine Burton and Helmut Ripperger, David McKay Company, Inc., New York, 1951