Tom's Simple Kulich Recipe
Day 1: 1/2 hour active prep time, 1/2 hour passive prep time. Total: One hour.
Day 2: 10 minutes active prep time, 1.5 hours rising time, 5 minutes active prep time. 45 minutes rising time, 10 minutes active prep time, 90 minutes baking time. 5 minutes icing time. Total: 4 hours, 15 minutes.
1 cup buttermilk, room temperature
1/4 cup heavy cream, room temperature
1/4 cup warm water
2 egg yolks
1/2 teaspoon instant yeast
1/2 cup sugar
1 teaspoon fresh orange zest
1 teaspoon fresh lemon zest
1 teaspoon fresh ground cardammon
1/4 lb melted butter and slightly cooled
3 cups (13.5 oz) all purpose flour, plus extra for adjustments
1/2 teaspoon salt
1 cup dark rye flour
1/2 cup golden raisins
1/2 cup chopped blanched almonds
Juice of 1/4 lemon
1/4 cup of icing sugar
Set out wet ingredients to come to room temperature as appropriate. This helps the yeast get going. Combine heavy cream, egg yolks, warm water in the bowl of a stand mixer, and mix until well combined. Add the yeast, sugar, zest, and cardammon, and mix until the sugar is dissolved.
Add the all purpose flour and salt, and knead using the dough hook attachment until the dough passes the windowpane test. This may take a while. Add the rye flour and melted butter, and knead until well incorporated. If the dough appears to be too wet, add a little more A.P. flour. The dough should be tacky but not sticky. Add the goodies, and knead until well incorporated.
Shape the dough into ball, and place in an lightly oiled bowl. Roll the bowl around so that the dough is lightly coated in oil, then cover with plastic, and leave on the counter until the dough begins to rise, approximately 15 minutes. Refrigerate overnight
Preheat oven to 150 Fahrenheit. When the oven has reached this temperture, turn it off. Put a pot on the stove with three cups of water in it. Take dough out of fridge and spread it out onto a sheet pan with parchment paper on top, so it is about an inch thick. Place in the warm oven, with the pot of boiling water. When the dough has reached slight above room temperature, shape into a ball in the bowl and cover loosely (open and close the oven door as quickly as possible). Return to the oven.
While dough is rising, find a small oven safe pot, and oil the inside. Put a round of parchment paper in the bottom of the pot (that comes up the sides about an inch) and oil that as well. When the dough has doubled in size, degass gently, shape into a ball, and place in the prepared pot. Cover the pot loosely, and return to the oven.
When the dough passes the poke test), remove dough from oven. Increase oven temperature to 375 Fahrenheit. When the oven has almost reached that temperature, put the pot in the upper half of the oven and cook to an internal temperature of 185 Farenheit, about 1 1/2 hours.
Ice the top of the kulich and serve with Paska.