One of the joys of visiting foreign lands is the opportunity to take part in regional holidays, customs and delicious local cuisine.
Over two Easter seasons, we lived in Georgia, a small country located between Turkey, Russia and Armenia. Georgia is home to an abundance of local fruits, vegetables, spices and regional specialities.
One such speciality is the (now world-famous) Georgian Easter bread, locally known as Kulich, or Paska. This slightly sweet, soft, yeasted bread appears in markets, grocery shops and bakeries a few weeks before the Orthodox Easter holiday in Georgia.
The most traditional form of Georgian Kulich is tall and cylindrical, baked in a special pan (said to represent the domed roofs of Orthodox churches) with a white sugar glaze dripped over the top and down the sides. It looks like a gorgeous oversized cupcake.
I also saw Kulich in rectangular loaves, braided breads, and round breads, decorated with bread dough braids, rosettes or twisted shapes. After tasting the store-bought varieties, I decided that I really needed to bake one myself.
Georgian Kulich Easter bread is infused with the heavenly scent of orange, then lightly dusted with powdered sugar. The preparation is similar to other yeasted sweet breads, with the addition of golden raisins (sultanas), orange juice, a bit of sugar, and milk.
Some versions include nutmeg, cinnamon and/or vanilla, but I opted to stay traditional and leave those out. I didn’t have a high Kulich pan, so I made a braided loaf, instead.
A slice of Kulich is perfect with a cup of tea or coffee for breakfast, as an after-meal dessert, or afternoon snack. Although Georgians enjoy this lovely bread only during the Easter season, it’s so tasty that it seems a shame to limit it to once a year!
To keep sultanas from clumping together in the dough, you can opt to rinse them in water and then lightly dry them. Toss them in a little bit of flour to coat before adding them to the bread dough.
Rising times and resting times are approximate and may differ depending on temperature or humidity
The baking time can range between 30-40 minutes, depending on the shape that you choose. Please check after 25 minutes and gauge progress during baking.
Last Updated 5 April 2023