Kulich — among other things, a good way to ride a time machine. Because it is difficult to find another dish that has remained virtually unchanged since long, long ago.
And personally, I try to cook it in the most ancient way possible.
Not forgetting, however, and modernity.
In particular, calculating my recipe, I proceeded from the fact that a packet of wheat flour weighs 1 kilogram today. 750 ml of a mixture of pasteurized milk and cream with fat content of at least 30% in equal proportions (in international cuisine, this mixture is called half & half, used a long time ago and works much better than milk or cream separately). In addition, you need to take 8 fresh egg yolks, 200 g of good butter, 250 g of fine white sugar, spices and candied fruits (about them below and more) and yeast.
And the talk about yeast needs a special one.
Frankly, I’m afraid of them.
Put a little — the dough will not rise. You put a lot — it will smell like from a leaven barrel. And it is not clear exactly how the yeast from a particular batch will work.
Therefore, before baking a cake, I always make a control batch, that is, I put the dough on the simplest bread, for example, on a pizza dough, and make conclusions based on the results.
The initial proportion is 50 grams of fresh yeast per kilogram of flour, and then God will.
It is possible to use fast baker’s yeast — how many exactly they should be, you can find out, having carefully studied the packaging.
The first step is to make a brew. Heat the mixture of milk and cream to a warm temperature (that is, as usual, warmed up the bottle for babies); add a couple of tablespoons of sugar. You can put a saucepan with milk and cream in a bowl with hot water — in ten minutes the necessary temperature will be reached.
Add yeast and stir.
When bubbles appear on the surface of the milk, sift two glasses of flour into the saucepan and stir. Cover with a cotton towel and leave in a warm place without drafts (oven, slightly heated — about such a place).
When the volume of dough will double (it should take about 2 hours), you can continue.
The remaining sugar is divided into two equal parts.
Pour one into a large bowl, add fresh yolks and whip with a whisk into a single mass. Pound until the mass begins to lighten — do not be afraid, it will not take long; the main thing is not to be interrupted.
Pour the second part of the sugar into another bowl, add the softened butter, and again pound the whisk into a single mass.
And in order, and for another grinding, you can use a mixer — it will turn out not only faster, but better.
Add the mixture of yolks and sugar to the risen brew, and then the mixture of butter and sugar.
After each addition, do not forget to quickly stir the dough with a spatula, making movements from the bottom up. Set aside a tablespoon of flour, and add the rest of the flour to the dough.
Brush your hands with vegetable oil and start mixing the dough.
When it becomes relatively uniform, put a lump of dough on a work surface covered with film and continue kneading like bread dough — knead the lump into a cake, then collect the edges to the middle, shape the ball and knead it again.
This time it is necessary to knead not too long, about 10 minutes.
Put the dough in a clean, greased with vegetable oil large capacity, cover with a towel and leave for an hour.
In the meantime, enjoy candied fruit. Speaking of “candied fruits”, I mean in general any dried berries, fruits and their pieces, which are usually added to buns.
One kilogram of flour requires either a glass of raisins, or prunes, or dried apricots, or other dried fruits that can increase in volume when soaked, or one and a half cups of candied fruits in the true sense of the word, that is, candied pineapples, papaya, watermelon rind, melons and all that.
I prefer the latter, but I also understand those who love the first — I advise you to pour the raisins not with simple boiling water, but with good black tea with lemon, and after 20 minutes, fold it into a colander and shake it slightly. Of course, first, any candied fruits and dried fruits should be picked and washed.
Spice for cake is a matter of taste and possibilities.
The most expensive of them is saffron; Take a couple of pinches, put in a glass, fill with half a glass of hot water and leave for an hour.
Both the infusion and saffron itself should be added to the dough — and it is better to do this at the initial mixing stage, together with the yolks and butter, so that the dough is evenly colored.
If you can not buy natural saffron, do not buy any, but rather take something else. Cinnamon, cloves and cardamom to taste, a little natural brown sugar — put all this in a mortar, crush with a pestle, add a pinch of salt. If all the spices are fresh, you get what you need.
You can also remove the zest from a pair of lemons, chop it and grind it with a tablespoon of sugar and a pinch of salt — this mixture will give the cake a fierce citrus shade.
Oh, and do not forget to add a couple of tablespoons of natural vanilla sugar in any case — no cake without vanilla Easter cake.
Rising dough must be laid out again on the work surface.
This time knead it for a long time, until it becomes completely smooth and uniform, 40-45 minutes. Candied fruit (or dried fruits), without drying, sprinkle with flour, stir, add to the dough together with spices.
Stir again, so that the candied fruit is evenly distributed throughout the dough.
Then divide the dough into pieces according to the number of forms.
In addition, each part must fill the form no more than half (better a little less).
For some reason, for paper cakes, it is customary to use paper forms, but I prefer empty cans. From the standard jar, where 400 g of mashed tomato pulp was packed, the form is obtained just for a portion Easter cake.
The main thing is that the edges should be smooth, without clues, and the current openers allow you to achieve this without any additional effort.
So, lubricate the inner surface of the form with oil, sprinkle with semolina (it is not necessary but desirable) and place a ball of the specified size inside.
Cover the forms with a towel and leave for 15–20 minutes to make the dough rise a third time.
Preheat the oven to 180-200 ºС (depending on how your oven bakes).
Place the baking tray in the center of the oven, put the molds on it so that there is a distance of 3-4 centimeters between them.
Baking time depends on the size of the molds. Kulichi in portioned forms will be ready in about an hour, large — in 1.5-2 hours.
In order for the cake not to fall, I advise you to stick a wooden stick in the middle of the filled form — just like the oven; how it works, I do not understand, but the fact is, the cakes do not fall off. The first half hour of baking the oven in no case can not be opened.
Ten minutes before readiness you can lubricate the top of the Easter cake with yolk
When you decide to bake a cake, keep in mind the following. It will take about a day of free time. Indoors should not be drafts, noise and abuse.
And proofing, and baking, and cooling of the cake should be in a completely calm atmosphere.
If you are not able to provide such magnificence (for example, dogs are rushing around the apartment, a newborn is crying, pets think your efforts are obscurantism, and so on.) better not to start.
All products — eggs, flour, sugar, butter — should be of the same temperature, room temperature. In addition, the flour would be nice to dry and be sure to sift.
After Easter cake be completely ready, take it out of the oven and move it straight to the grid on the grid.
After 20 minutes, remove the cake from the mold and let it cool on the grill to room temperature ..
Well, if the cake turned out, decorating it is much easier. The simplest icing is icing sugar and lemon juice, taken in equal quantities by volume. Just mix and grease. Easter cake.
While the frosting is not frozen, you can add other decorations to your liking.
If you went to holy cakes in the temple, then imagine what kind of people make beauty of them — but this, of course, must be trained.
Well, so that God kissed the top of his head.