Russian Easter Bread

Do make this cylindrical shaped bread, use 3 lb. size shortening or coffee cans. Be sure to grease the inside well. Top with rainbow colored nonpareils.

Makes 2 loaves
  • 2 pkgs. active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup lukewarm milk (scalded, then cooled)
  • 1/3 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1/2 cup shortening
  • 1/2 cup raisins
  • 1/2 cup cut-up mixed candied fruit
  • 1/4 cup chopped blanched almonds
  • 1 teaspoon grated lemon peel
  • 4-1/2 to 5 cups flour

Dissolve yeast in warm water in large bowl. Stir in milk, sugar, salt, eggs, shortening, raisins, candied fruit, almonds, lemon peel and 3 cups of the flour. Beat until smooth. Stir in enough remaining flour to make dough easy to handle.
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl; turn greased side up. Cover; let rise in warm place until double, 1 to 1-1/2 hours. Dough is ready if indentation remains when touched.)
Punch down dough; divide into halves. Shape each half into round bun-shaped loaf. Place in 2 well-greased 3-pound shortening cans. Let rise until double, 40 to 50 minutes.
Heat oven to 375°. Place cans on low rack so that the midpoint of each can is in center of oven. Bake until tops are golden brown, 40 to 45 minutes. (If tops brown too quickly, cover loosely with aluminum foil.) Cool 10 minutes; remove from cans. Spoon Lemon Icing over tops of warm kulich, allowing some to drizzle down sides. Trim with tiny decorating candies if desired.

Lemon Icing
Mix 1 cup powdered sugar, 1 tablespoon warm water and 1 teaspoon lemon juice until smooth. (Icing should be glaze consistency. Add 1 to 2 teaspoons water if necessary.