Russian Kulich and Red Russian Easter Eggs

Antique Russian Easter Card

"Christ is risen from the dead!" -- Card from the historic Russian Empire period before 1917.
"Christ is risen from the dead!" -- Card from the historic Russian Empire period before 1917. | Source

The Kulich Easter Bread

Kulich is a traditional sweet bread made in Russia and Ukraine and likely in other nearby countries. I learned to make it from several Ukrainians.

A molded white cheese is traditionally prepared to spread on slices of the sweet bread, but I learned only to make the bread itself. Cream cheese or cream cheese frosting would be a fitting substitute.

How to Make Kulich

Kulich is a special Easter Bread in Russia that is often eaten only for the 40 days following Easter Sunday.

Save empty metal food cans like coffee cans and large tomato juice cans throughout the year and keep them washed and clean. Remove the labels and cut out the bottom of the cans as well. The large soup cans are the best size for baking this dessert.

Ingredients

  • 8 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 packets of active yeast
  • 1 tsp sugar
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 2 tsp pure lemon extract
  • 1 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3/4 cup of evaporated milk
  • 1/2 cup water
  • 1 1/2 tsp salt
  • 1 cup soft butter
  • Grated peel of one medium orange and one lemon
  • 2/3 cup granulated sugar
  • 6 eggs, beaten

Optional (I like to add all three):

  • 2/3 cups toasted slivered almonds
  • 1/2 cup currants or dried cranberries (cranberries add an extra tang)
  • 1/2 cup raisins

Preparation:

  • Use the water warm water to dissolve the yeast and add the smaller amount of sugar to this mix in a large bowl,
  • Mix milk and water in a pan and scald it. Remove from heat and add it as well as the butter, lemon extract, sugar, salt and citrus peels. Cool to lukewarm and add beaten eggs.
  • Beat in the flour until stiff. Then turn it out onto a floured board, working in more flour and knead it then for ten minutes.
  • Continue kneading until dough is soft and elastic.
  • Add nuts and fruits and mix well.
  • Next, grease a large bowl, oil the dough and place it in the bowl. Cover it with a clean tea towel and let it rise to double.
  • Punch the dough down and let it rest for 5 minutes.
  • Grease the insides of the metal cans and set upright on a baking sheet. You may need to remove a rack from your oven in order to make enough room for the baking cans.
  • Roll the dough into various size balls and put the balls into the greased tin cans.
  • Oil the top of the dough in each of the cans and let rise until double.
  • Bake at 350 degrees F. When a knife blade comes out clean, they are done.
  • Roll the warm bread in clean dish towels and put on a cooling rack.
  • Stand the cakes upright on a serving plate(s) and frost the tops with homemade frosting and additional fruits and nuts.

Kulich and Easter Eggs
Kulich and Easter Eggs | Source

Russian Easter Eggs

Before the Communist Revolution in Russia, Easter was celebrated by the various Orthodox Christian Churches in the country. along with other denominations in Russia, Ukraine, Belarus, and nearby nations. Peasants found it easy to color eggs by using the strong dye afforded by red onion skins. Today, many people still use them, because they usually have red onions on hand and do not deed to by egg coloring kits.

Russian Easter Eggs are much different from Ukrainian Easter Eggs. Each of the countries Southeastern Europe and the former Soviet Union has its own traditions, colors, and designs for egg decoration.

Red Eggs Are the Most Traditional for Russia

Red eggs are also favored by the Greek Orthodox traditions.
Red eggs are also favored by the Greek Orthodox traditions. | Source

Variations In Egg Traditions

The difference that I have seen most often is that the Russian tradition results in single-colored eggs that are bright and fun to view.

The Ukrainian eggs are intricately painted and can be of several colors each. In visiting a Ukrainian museum in Chicago several years ago, I was in time to see museum staff pulling out large drawers of preserved eggs painted in the Ukrainian tradition hundreds of years ago. The designs and colors were gorgeous! Other Slavic countries maintain their own coloring traditions.

Among the Orthodox Easter celebrators in Russia, there is this homemade recipe:

Red Onions

Red Onions can be used to dye eggs.
Red Onions can be used to dye eggs. | Source
Scene from a Russian ad for a new egg dye to relace onion skins
Scene from a Russian ad for a new egg dye to relace onion skins

Red Russian Easter Eggs Recipe

Instructions:

  • Remove some red and yellow onion skins and put them into a cooking pot. Add water to cover and boil a few minutes.
  • Ad some raw white-shelled eggs (brown eggs won't color correctly).
  • Boil this mixture of eggs and dye for as long as it takes to produce a deep red color (usually about 12 minutes).
  • The eggs will emerge hard boiled and will look like a mystic creature's eggs in a very earthy and attractive color!

The old-style way is to wrap each egg in an onion skin, tie it up with string and suspend it in the boiling water for a long time.

For these Russian Easter Eggs, no further decoration is necessary.

Click thumbnail to view full-size
You may see eggs hung in outdoor trees in Russia.Americans also like Easter Egg trees.
You may see eggs hung in outdoor trees in Russia.
You may see eggs hung in outdoor trees in Russia. | Source
Americans also like Easter Egg trees.
Americans also like Easter Egg trees. | Source

Please Rate Russian Easter Eggs

5 out of 5 stars from 1 rating of Red Russian Easter Eggs

Many Easter Eggs Break the Lenten Fast

Large numbers of Easter Eggs are prepared in rural areas where meat, eggs and dairy are all fasted for 40 days during Lent. Families are anxious to enjoy eggs once more on Easter Sunday and want to have plenty of them around.

NOTE: In Japanese and other cultures of Asia, strong green tea is used instead of onion skins.

Hard boiled eggs are cracked all over with many tiny cracks and the eggs are placed into a jar of the strong tea enough to to cover, all night long on the counter top or in the refrigerator. Soy sauce made be added to the tea to create a saltier taste and a deeper color.

On Easter Morning or other special occasion for which you decorate eggs, the eggs are shelled to reveal a beautiful design and tasty Green Tea Eggs.

Russian Easter

Russian Easter
Russian Easter

Music from the St. Petersburg Chamber Choir includes traditional numbers: Of Thy Mystic Supper, The Pascal Hours, The Wise Thief, In the Flesh Thou Didst Fall Asleep, Alleluia. Behold The Bridegroom and seven others. Try this CD for something different to give you a new slant on the holiday.

 

Many Slavic Countries Have Their Own Easter Egg Patterns

show route and directions
A markerRussia -
Russia
[get directions]

B markerUkraine -
Ukraine
[get directions]

C markerPoland -
Poland
[get directions]

D markerRomania -
Romania
[get directions]

E markerBelarus -
Belarus
[get directions]

Eggs of Romania

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Beaded eggs of Romania.Additional Romanian designs.
Beaded eggs of Romania.
Beaded eggs of Romania. | Source
Source
Additional Romanian designs.
Additional Romanian designs. | Source

© 2008 Patty Inglish

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Comments 9 comments

MrMarmalade profile image

MrMarmalade 8 years ago from Sydney

That is unbelievable and so easy to do.

Thank you Mrs. Magic


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

Oho so funny Mr. M.! 

I have been saving some cans this last couple of weeks and am now ready to bake. What fun! I will try the Russian eggs again this year as well.


AuraGem profile image

AuraGem 8 years ago from Victoria, Australia

Love reading about other cultures! Even though I really loathe cooking, this hub fascinated me - esp the eggs. A work of art! Natural art!

Thank you for an intriguing hub!

Smiles and Light


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

I think I might pok holes in some shells and blow out the insides and cook them separately, then dye some lovely red shells. Then I could have a great natural arrangement.


Decrescendo profile image

Decrescendo 8 years ago

Great food. I so want to eat something now.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 8 years ago from North America Author

I love green tea eggs, for sure. I have some in the refrigerator right now. Yum! Thanks for stopping by, Decrescendo.


irinaalek7 profile image

irinaalek7 6 years ago from Florida,Miramar,USA

I am a native Russian, lived in Ukraine for 30 years.( I live in the USA now) Russian Easter eggs are the same as Ukrainian Easter eggs. I had been doing the same painting job as you described.


Patty Inglish, MS profile image

Patty Inglish, MS 6 years ago from North America Author

Thank you; interesting to know some styles are similar across former USSR. They are not identical over all that country and neighboring nations, however. Other native Russians tell me that Russia has had an additional, all-red egg that the Ukrainians do/did not have throughout Ukraine (2 of my Russian teachers, native, and native Russian and Ukrainian in-laws - most 20+ years in both Rus. and Ukr.; all of whom taught me how to do the eggs both ways). There was a TV commercial clip from Russia last year of a newer product for making the all-red eggs. It may no longer exist.


william.fischer29 profile image

william.fischer29 5 years ago

Wow, this is amazing hub, I learn more, I will try this.

BTW!! Thanks for sharing.

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