This almond ginger kulich is a traditional easter bread.
smelled ugly and a quick trip to toys-r-us where my mom bought me a teddy bear with a gingham dress.
I make this bread with half bread flour and half pastry flour, but you can substitute the whole amount for all purpose flour.You can use coffee cans as molds. I used three panettone paper molds, 5x3 inch, but could've easily use only two. Depends on how tall you want your kulich.
- ½ cup raisins
- ¼ cup chopped crystallized ginger
- Zest of 1 orange about 2 teaspoons
- ¼ cup brandy or cognac
- 1 Tbs active dry yeast
- ¼ cup warm water tepid
- ½ cup warm milk about 100º
- 1 cup bread flour
- 3 eggs
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- ½ cup sugar
- 1 cup bread flour
- 1 ½ to 2 cups pastry flour + extra if needed
- 4 Tbs unsalted butter at room tº
- ½ cup chopped toasted almonds
- 1 Tbs unsalted butter melted, for brushing the finished loaves
- Powdered sugar for sprinkling
- Extra chopped almonds and/or crystallized ginger
In a small bowl combine raisins, ginger, zest and brandy.
Let soak while preparing the rest of the bread.
In the bowl of a stand mixer, or a large bowl if making by hand, mix water and yeast. Let stand a few minutes until foamy and add milk and flour.
Mix well with a wooden spoon, cover with plastic wrap and let stand until bubbly, about 1 hour.
To the sponge, add the eggs, vanilla, sugar, 1 cup bread flour and salt.
Mix with a wooden spoon until incorporated and attach to the mixer. With the dough hook, mixing on medium speed, add 1 cup pastry flour and butter in four or five pieces and soaked fruit with any brandy that remains.
Knead until the flour is incorporated, and continue adding the rest of the pastry flour, half cup at a time. With a spatula, clean the sides of the bowl and knead for five minutes.
The dough will will pool on the bottom and never completely become a ball, but it should attempt to do so when adding the last part of the flour. You can add some more flour, a few tablespoons at a time if the dough it too wet after five minutes.
Beat for 4 or 5 more minutes, transfer to a greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until doubled, about 1 ½ to 2 hours. It can take longer, depending on the tº.
Transfer to a lightly floured surface. Pat it into a rectangle, sprinkle the chopped almonds and for into a loose ball with the aid of a dough scraper. Knead a few times to distribute the almonds, some will fall, put them back in.
Have ready two or three coffee cans or panettone paper molds, or any other round mold (it can be a cake mold too) that is 5 inches in diameter and at least 3 inches tall. Spray or grease them.
Divide the dough in two or three equal pieces, loosely form a ball and put them inside the molds. The dough will be sticky so work quickly with the aid of a dough scraper.
Cover with a clean kitchen towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour.
About 20 minutes before baking, turn the oven to 350º F.
Bake kulich for 35 to 40 minutes, until a tester inserted in center comes out clean and the top is golden brown. If browning too quickly cover with aluminum foil and continue baking.
Transfer to a wire rack, brush with melted butter and sprinkle with powdered sugar or almonds.
If not eating right away, freeze them, up to 3 months, well wrapped in plastic and foil, without the butter and sugar. When you're going to eat them, let them thaw in their wrappings, and reheat for 5 minutes before decorating.
adapted from Bread for all Seasons, by Beth Hensperger
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