Borsos kalács – Pepper buns

by | Dec 2, 2016 | Breads, buns & biscuits

The hometown of borsos kalács is Szeremle, a village in Bács-Kiskun county that lies south-west to Baja, by the river Sugovica. Agriculture plays an important role in the village; however, commercial and industrial firms are also present.


Szeremle’s cultural life is rich and colourful, inhabitants cherish the traditions of folk art actively. Folk dance, embroidery and carpet weaving have put the village on the map. The good fishing and hunting possibilities also attract a lot of tourists to Szeremle.

Borsos kalács was usually made for christenings and weddings. It’s a yeast pastry topped with a black pepper-sour cream mixture. You have to roll ropes from the dough and form them into a spiral shape. Once the buns are baked, dip them into the sour cream, then put them in a big bowl and let them rest for an hour. During that time sour cream topping becomes slightly solid and creamy.

Borsos kalács - Pepper buns
Borsos kalács – Pepper buns – photo:

For the dough:

  • 500 g (~4 cups) flour
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 250 ml (~1 cup) milk
  • 25 g (~3/4 oz) fresh yeast (2 1/2 tsp dry yeast)
  • 40 g (~3 tbsp) sugar
  • 20 g (~1 1/3 tbsp) salt
  • 75 g (~2 2/3 oz) lard, melted

For the topping:

  • 300 g (~10 oz) sour cream
  • 1 tbsp lard, melted
  • 1/2 tsp ground black pepper
  • 1/4 tsp salt

Dissolve yeast with 1/2 tablespoon of sugar in tepid milk. Sift the flour into a bowl. Add egg yolk, activated yeast, salt and 2 1/2 tablespoons of sugar to the flour. Start to knead and gradually pour in melted lard. Knead until smooth and pliable. Cover the dough and let it rise for 50-60 minutes.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.

Turn out the dough onto a floured surface and divide it into 8-10 pieces. Shape them into balls and let them rest for 10 minutes. Take a ball and roll it with your hands into a 40-45 cm/15-17 inch rope. Form the rope into a bun as you can see on the photos below:

Forming pepper buns - borsos kalács

Bend the rope.

Forming pepper buns - borsos kalács

Twist it.

Pepper buns

Roll up the entire piece in a spiral shape to form a snail.

Repeat the process with the remaining dough balls. Place the buns onto the prepared baking sheets, cover and let them double in size.

Preheat the oven to 200°C / 392°F and bake the buns for 16-18 minutes or until golden brown.

In a medium bowl combine sour cream, salt, lard and ground pepper. Once you can touch the buns without burning, dip each bun into the sour cream and place them in a big bowl. Pour excess pepper sour cream over the buns, cover the bowl and set aside for 1 hour. During that time the sour cream forms a creamy, solid layer on the tops.

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Hungarian cottage cheese

This is what Hungarian túró looks like

You often ask me what kind of cottage cheese (or curd cheese or farmer's cheese - call it what you want) I use in the recipes. In Hungary the store-bought cottage cheese is dry and crumbly as you can see in the picture. So if a recipe calls for túró, I mean this type. If you can't obtain túró, you can try to make your own from whole milk. Click on the link below.

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In Hungary metric units are in use, all the recipes on this website are based on this system, so a kitchen scale is necessary. Since I’m not familiar with cup as a measurement unit, I convert grams to cups by using an online converter. The values in brackets, therefore, are only approximate volumes, so, please, double-check them before you start cooking.

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