Making a Kulich for Orthodox Easter

Discussion in 'Bread' started by Teeth Brusher, Apr 4, 2018.

  1. Teeth Brusher

    Teeth Brusher Well-Known Member

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    Hi everyone! I’m going to try a kulich for Easter. I’ve never even tried this bread much less baked it before! In looking at recipes, I see there is A LOT of rising going on. Like 2-3 rising steps. Is it possible to let a bread rise overnight and get it ready to bake in the morning? If so, how does someone go about doing this?

    If anyone is interested, I think I’ll be trying this recipe:

    https://natashaskitchen.com/2013/03/23/paska-easter-bread-recipe-kulich/

    Thank you,
     
    Teeth Brusher, Apr 4, 2018
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  2. Teeth Brusher

    Sharzi Well-Known Member

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    Looks really good. How did it turn out?
     
    Sharzi, Apr 4, 2018
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  3. Teeth Brusher

    Teeth Brusher Well-Known Member

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    I haven’t tried it yet! I’m assembling the ingredients now! I’ll let y’all know how it comes out after the battle. I’m nervous! I’ve never made bread before much less a kulich. :O
     
    Teeth Brusher, Apr 5, 2018
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  4. Teeth Brusher

    Becky Administrator

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    Mmmm that does look delicious :D

    I'm a total recipe follower - if I haven't made something before I would usually follow the recipe to the letter the first time. Once I'm familiar with making something then I'm more happy to make changes.

    If all the recipes you look at for Kulich specify the multiple rises then I'd stick to that ;)
     
    Becky, Apr 5, 2018
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  5. Teeth Brusher

    Teeth Brusher Well-Known Member

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    Becky, I think you’re totally right. I have such little experience in this arena of baking, I really shouldn’t deviate from the recipe.

    I do have one question, maybe you can provide some insight? The recipe calls for mixing dry active yeast directly with a whole mess of ingredients in the first step. Does this seem weird to you? I thought yeast was supposed to be proofed with a warm liquid and sometimes sugar separately. I’m making sure the eggs, sour cream, etc will come to room temperature, but this step seems odd to me? Can yeast “proof” in these conditions (being mixed directly with eggs, flour, butter, milk, etc)? Thank you!
     
    Teeth Brusher, Apr 5, 2018
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  6. Teeth Brusher

    Becky Administrator

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    It looks like the recipe calls for a pre-ferment - in this case a poolish. It has a high liquid and sugar content, which should be more than enough to get the yeast going. To be honest I thought poolish was usually just flour, water, and yeast (sometimes just flour and water) so I don't know too much about enriched ones, but the recipe seems to rate well so it must be fine.

    I'm intrigued by this bread! I hope it goes well for you, and I look forward to hearing how you get on :)
     
    Becky, Apr 5, 2018
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  7. Teeth Brusher

    Teeth Brusher Well-Known Member

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    So, the kuliches are done. Oh my dear Lord. What a DISASTER!! Everything seemed to be going just fine until I noticed at the 20 minute mark of baking that the kulich wasn’t rising/forming a dome. It was sunken in the middle! I was gutted and continued baking until the 30 minute mark as directed by the recipe.

    I was hoping that maybe the bread would taste okay even if it looked awful. Lol. It was SO BAD. For some reason, it tasted like...beer? It was incredible. Like while taking a bite, I felt this weird heady sensation and was overwhelmed by this bizarre alcohol overtone.

    Would anyone be able to provide some feedback on where I went wrong? From a look at Google, it seems maybe I “overproofed” the yeast, and it fermented? Does that account for both the weird alcohol flavor and the sinking?

    I made very few deviations from the recipe since I’ve never made a proper yeast bread before (my only previous experience was kolache, and they were great!).

    Modifications:
    • Halved the recipe
    • Substituted vanilla powder for vanilla extract (extract is hard to get here)
    • Substituted dried cranberries for raisins
    • Added zest of one small orange
    • Instead of heating to 100 F during the rising stages, I placed a pan of boiling water on the floor of the oven
    There are three rising stages in this recipe, each for 2 hours. I was thinking maybe the problem is the boiling water in a pan shortcut? Maybe that caused the yeast to ferment? I’m not so sure though because 1. the recipe does call for the dough to sit in a warm oven for such long spans of time and 2. I’ve used this method before with other yeast recipes (kolache) and haven’t had this problem.

    I would really appreciate your thoughts, especially from the genius @Norcalbaker59. I’d really like to try to perfect the recipe before Orthodox Easter. I’d prefer to offer my husband’s family a home baked good instead of something from the store. :-/

    I’ve included 4 pictures from this mess. Two are from after in-prep-bowl rising and in-baking tin rising, and the other two are the final product. Arrrgggh! I’m so tired lol.




    6472D65D-8408-46AD-9ECF-8892EF4A3ECF.jpeg BD9CB0FE-B710-4215-B87C-B71178E532B0.jpeg BC21833A-9786-4F31-96D8-C45089EEAD77.jpeg 2B5A80F2-0660-4834-B665-B024F4A03FCD.jpeg
     
    Teeth Brusher, Apr 5, 2018
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  8. Teeth Brusher

    Teeth Brusher Well-Known Member

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    So I think I detected one issue. The recipe calls for Canadian AP flour because of the high gluten content. Apparently most people in the States use a mixture of bread flour and AP. I had no idea what Russian flour was like and don’t have bread flour, so I proceeded with a 1-to-1 sub of Russian flour to Canadian flour. The recipe doesn’t require kneading (I’m assuming because of the Canadian AP?). Kneading creates gluten, if I recall correctly? So, maybe I need to search out a different recipe to accommodate my AP flour.

    I can see how this error would result in the concave shape, but I’m still perplexed about the yeast/beer taste! :-(
     
    Teeth Brusher, Apr 5, 2018
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  9. Teeth Brusher

    Becky Administrator

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    This might be a silly question, but the dough in the second photo looks very wet... did you add the rest of the flour in? Regarding the fermented taste, I think you are right that the hot water was a culprit. Yeast is most active in warm, humid environments, and probably reacted a little too enthusiastically in your oven. It may also explain why the dough looks so wet.

    In terms of gluten development, kneading isn't necessary. Don't get me wrong, it helps speed up the process, but the gluten proteins will sort themselves out if left alone for long enough. You are right that gluten content is different between different types of flour though, and I'm not sure what the gluten content would be of Russian flour.

    Hopefully @Norcalbaker59 will be able to offer some insight - she's a lot more knowledgeable than me with this stuff!
     
    Becky, Apr 6, 2018
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  10. Teeth Brusher

    Teeth Brusher Well-Known Member

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    Thanks for your thoughts, Becky! Yes, I thought that the dough looked and felt more wet than it should have been. I followed the recipe very closely with the exception of the modifications I described earlier - I don’t think these changes would affect the wetness of the dough (?). I was tempted to try the recipe again but decided against it. Apparently people like to mix bread flour and AP flour to get the protein content of Canadian AP. But I don’t want to buy another bag of special flour that I’m only going to use once and put away.

    I found another recipe on Allrecipes that calls for AP flour and kneading. I’m making the kulich now and it’s in the final rising stage! I’ll let y’all know how it turns out! :)
     
    Teeth Brusher, Apr 6, 2018
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  11. Teeth Brusher

    Becky Administrator

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    Hope it goes well! I'll keep my fingers and toes crossed for you :)
     
    Becky, Apr 6, 2018
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  12. Teeth Brusher

    Teeth Brusher Well-Known Member

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    I think I have to throw in the towel and admit defeat lol. The second try was SO bad. I burnt the top of the breads, and the final result was very dry. I wonder if one problem may be my total lack of experience with breads. I just can’t get a sense of how the dough is supposed to feel, what consistency should be achieved at different stages, etc. I would love to take a bread making class. Oh well! :)
     
    Teeth Brusher, Apr 7, 2018
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  13. Teeth Brusher

    Becky Administrator

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    Sorry to hear that! Don't let it get you down, it was a difficult recipe for someone who hasn't made bread before. There are so many variables that can affect how a loaf of bread turns out, and the more complicated a recipe the more things there are that can go wrong.

    Maybe start with something more basic - like a white loaf - and go from there :)

    I find video tutorials very helpful, this one is pretty good:

     
    Becky, Apr 9, 2018
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  14. Teeth Brusher

    Teeth Brusher Well-Known Member

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    Oh cool, thanks! I was going to look at King Arthur, but this is perfect!
     
    Teeth Brusher, Apr 10, 2018
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