Yields about 6 kuliches baked in 5.25'' molds
In a medium mixing bowl combine milk, 1 tbs of sugar, and dry east. Let ferment for about 10 minutes. Add 200 grams of flour, mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and let ferment. Depending on the temperature around your house, it may take from 30 minutes to 1.5 hours for the poolish mixture to start heavy bubbling.
If using raisins, pour rum over them, and let soak while the dough is being prepared.
When the poolish is ready, with a hand-mixer beat the egg yolks with remaining sugar, salt, and vanilla.
In a separte bowl whisk egg whites so that they form a peak.
In a large mixing bowl combine flour, butter, poolish, egg yolks, and whites.
Cover with a plastic wrap, and let rise. When the dough doubles in size (50 - 90 minutes), add drained raisins and/or other dried fruit and nuts.
Fill the molds with the dough, about 1/3 full. Traditionally, kulich molds are very tall, lots of people actually use coffee cans. Panettone paper molds are the closest to the ideal that I could find in the States. Cover the molds with a kitchen towel, and let rise for another 50-90 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350°F/175°C.
Bake for 30-40 minutes, till golden brown.
Remove kulich from the oven, and let chill on a wire rack.
When the kulich is cool, prepare the frosting by whisking all the ingredients together into a smooth mixture.
Apply the frosting on top of your kulich, allowing it to drip.
Decorate your Easter Bread with "XB" and or other patterns, if desired.