yeast, active dry
Soak raisins in rum for at least 30 or overnight.
Combine ½ teaspoon sugar along with yeast and water.
Let stand until foamy, about 5 minutes.
Beat together remaining sugar, butter, eggs, vanilla, milk, salt and saffron with mixer until blended.
Add 2 cups of the flour and 1 tablespoon of soaking rum, beating for 2 minutes at high speed.
Drain raisins and reserve rum for glaze. Stir raisins, almonds and orange peel into dough with wooden spoon.
Stir in enough of remaining flour to form a soft dough.
Turn out onto floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.
Place dough in greased bowl, turning to coat. Cover; let rise in warm spot for 1½ to 2 hours, until doubled.
Grease well two 1 lb. coffee cans.
Line bottoms with rounds of waxed paper.
Turn dough out onto floured surface. Punch down; knead a few turns.
Divide in half and place in prepared cans.
Let rise, covered, for about 1½ hours, or until it has risen to top of can.
Preheat oven to 325℉ (160℃) degree. Brush tops of bread slightly with water.
Bake on lowest rack until a long, thin wood skewer inserted into center of the loaf comes out clean, 1¼ to 1½ hours (45 minutes to 1¼ hours at 300° in a convection oven).
Check after 25 minutes and tent with foil if browning too quickly.
Using oven mitts, carefully remove the bread from the cans, Cool upright on wire rack to room temperature.
Blend powdered sugar with lemon juice and ¾ teaspoon water until smooth. Stand kulich upright and drizzle top with icing.
Drizzle glaze over breads.
Garnish with candied orange peel and slivered almonds, if you wish.