Hungarian braided sweet bread

by | Apr 3, 2015 | Breads, buns & biscuits

Easter without kalács (this is the Hungarian name of sweet bread) is like Christmas without Christmas tree. Hungarian kalács is similar to the Jewish challah eaten on Sabbath and holidays; it’s traditionally baked for Easter. It’s made with egg, milk and butter to create a brioche-like texture and is braided with three, four or six strands.

Many are afraid to set about making kalács because they find it too complicated. Although it seems more than it really is. It’s really true that there are some factors, which affect the final outcome. The dough of kalács is softer than bread dough, but not sticky by any means. If it’s too soft, the bread spreads out. Don’t add too much yeast, otherwise the dough can overrise easily, the braid loses its shape during baking and its taste will be yeasty. Adding butter is an important step, you should pour in gradually when the dough starts to form a ball, and butter must be completely incorporated.

You don’t have to insist on the six-strand braid – it almost got me, I had to watch the video a few times in order to learn it properly. It completely depends on you which braid to choose. I recommend trying to make kalács, as it doesn’t require pre-training and special kitchen tools, you only need to have patience and pay attention to the instructions, and success is guaranteed.

Hungarian braided sweet bread - Kalács
Hungarian braided sweet bread – Fonott kalács – photo:
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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.

Metric system vs cup

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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