Easter Sweet Bread
– 1 package (¼ oz.) active dry yeast.
– ¼ c. warm water.
– ¼ c. sugar.
– ½ c. warm milk.
– 1 c. flour.
– 8 tbsp. unsalted butter.
– ½ c. sugar 8 egg yolks (save 2 egg whites)*.
– 1 tsp. vanilla extract.
– 2 tsp. ground cardamom.
– ½ tsp. salt.
– 3 to 3½ c. flour.
– ⅓ c. golden raisins.
– ¼ c. slivered almonds.
– ¼ c. chopped candied orange rind.
– (optional) Glaze:.
– 1 c. powdered sugar.
– 2 tsp. lemon juice.
– ⅛ tsp. almond extract.
– 2 to 3 tsp. warm water.
Step 2:2. In another large bowl, combine butter, ½ c. sugar, and egg yolks. Add the yeast-flour mixture to butter mixture and stir well. Add vanilla extract, cardamom, salt, and enough flour to make a soft dough. Stir in raisins, almonds, and orange rind.
Step 3:3. In a small bowl, use an electric beater to beat 2 egg whites until stiff. Carefully fold into dough. Turn dough onto a clean, lightly floured surface and knead gently for 5 minutes, or until dough is smooth and elastic. Place in a greased bowl and turn to grease all sides of dough. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for 1½ to 2 hours, or until doubled in size.
Step 4:4. Grease a clean, 2-lb. coffee can with butter or shortening and line the sides and bottom of the can with brown packaging paper or strips of a grocery bag. Use butter or margarine to grease the side of the paper that will be touching the dough so that bread will not stick to paper. Make sure that the edges of the paper stick out over the top edge of the can by at least one inch. Fold paper down over outside of can.
Step 5:5. Punch down dough and knead lightly. Place dough in coffee can. Cover with a towel and let rise for 45 to 60 minutes, or until dough reaches the top of the can. 6. Preheat oven to 400°F. Bake loaf for 10 minutes, then reduce heat to 350°F and bake for another 35 to 40 minutes, or until kulich is golden brown and a toothpick or cake tester inserted into the center of the top comes out clean.
Step 6:7. While kulich is baking, prepare glaze. In a small bowl, combine powdered sugar, lemon juice, almond extract, and enough water to make a smooth glaze that is runny enough to be drizzled.
Step 7:8. Remove kulich from oven and let cool for 10 minutes. Very carefully remove from can and cool on a rack. While kulich is still slightly warm, drizzle glaze over the top. Serve by cutting off crown and slicing base into rounds. Replace crown to keep bread moist.
Note : *To separate an egg, crack it cleanly on the edge of a nonplastic bowl. Holding the two halves of the eggshell over the bowl, gently pour the egg yolk back and forth between the two halves, letting the egg white drip into the bowl and being careful not to break the yolk. When most of the egg white has been separated, place the yolk in another bowl.