Now that I have a Russian last name, I feel it is my bounden duty to attempt the most daunting of all Russian cuisine-- kulich, or the cylindrical bread baked for Pascha (Easter) which takes two days to prepare.
Once it occurred to me that I would be faced with this momentous task, I began my research.
The library provided several different versions of kulich, some extremely complicated, while others seemed more doable. I poured over all the recipes I could get my hands on, trying to make sense of the process, which was more elaborate than any I had attempted.
Kulich is baked in a coffee can so that it resembles the onion domes on Russian Orthodox churches. I found the perfect one at Cosco--and it even came with 6 pounds of tomato sauce, which will probably wind up sustaining us through Holy Week.
My friend Claudia provided all sorts of invaluable advice. She told me to coat the inside of the can with melted butter, then line it with buttery parchment paper.
That made popping the kulich out of the can absolutely easy.
It slid right out onto the towel-covered pillow. Yep, you read that right. They call it "putting the kulich to bed." We rolled the kulich around on the pillow for 20 minutes to prevent it from getting flat on one side.