Decorated kulich on a table for Easter

Kulich: Georgian Easter bread

Maysie Dee

Contributing writer

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.

Decorating kulich with white glaze and sprinkles

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!


  • ⅔ cup + 1 tbsp warm milk
  • 1 tbsp active dry yeast
  • ⅓ cup butter, melted
  • 3 tbsp orange juice
  • 1 tbsp orange zest
  • 1 tsp lemon zest
  • 1 tbsp sour cream
  • ½ cup sugar
  • 2 eggs
  • ¼ tsp salt
  • 2¾ cups all-purpose flour
  • ½ cup sultanas, according to preference
  • ¼ tsp grated nutmeg or nutmeg powder (optional)
  • 1 egg (for egg wash - optional)


  1. 1
    Heat the milk so it's warm enough for yeast to bloom – you can test with a finger and if it is warm, but not too hot to keep your finger in, then it is ready. Put the warm milk into a medium-sized bowl and add the yeast and 2 tsp sugar.
  2. 2
    When the yeast is bubbly and foamy, add the melted butter, orange juice, zest, and eggs. Stir.
  3. 3
    In a large mixing bowl, mix the flour, salt, sultanas and nutmeg (if using).
  4. 4
    Add the yeast mixture to the dry ingredients.
  5. 5
    Knead for at least 5 minutes. It should be a sticky mass.
  6. 6
    Lightly oil the dough so that it does not dry during rising, and set it in the mixing bowl. Cover with a dry towel and put in a warm place to rise.
  7. 7
    When dough has roughly doubled in size, punch down and knead again lightly. Do not overproof the dough!
  8. 8
    Preheat oven to 180°C / 350°F.
  9. 9
    If you choose to decorate your bread with dough shapes, reserve ⅓ of the dough for decorating and form the rest of the dough into the desired shape. Place the dough in a lightly floured baking pan and (if decorating) place dough decorations on the bread. NOTE: if decorating the top of your bread with dough designs, place any decoration dough that rings the outer edge at least one inch from the edge of your pan so the decoration stays on top of the bread as it spreads during baking.
  10. 10
    Optional egg wash: Beat one small egg with 1 tbsp water and lightly brush over the top of the bread for browning during baking.
  11. 11
    Bake for between 30-40 minutes. If the top is browning quickly, you can cover it with aluminium foil for the remainder of the baking time. Remove the bread from the oven and let it rest for 5 minutes before removing it from the baking pan. Completely cool on a wire rack before slicing.


  • 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.

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Maysie Dee

Author - Maysie Dee

Maysie Dee is a freelance writer, content editor, and recipe creator. She and her husband have travelled across the world for decades as natural product consultants, collecting stories along the way.

Last Updated 16 February 2024

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