Hungarian poppy seed roll – Mákos kalács

by | Jun 17, 2015 | Breads, buns & biscuits

I confess I’m a poppy seed addict. As a child I couldn’t even bear its sight, now if it was possible, I would dose it “intravenously”. Beigli, strudel, noodles, dumplings, rolls, pies, cakes – there are hundreds of recipes that call for poppy seeds. I don’t know official data about the world’s poppy seed consumption, but it’s likely that Hungary takes the cake on this matter.

Poppy seeds as well as opium are derived from the opium poppy. Opium contains about 25 alkaloids (among others morphine, papaverine, thebaine, codeine) that are sources of important medicines. The Latin botanical name of the plant, papaver somniferum means the “sleep-bringing poppy”, referring to the sedative properties of some of these opiates. The white flower subspecies of the opium poppy has been considered a drug since 1 January 2006 in Hungary, the cultivation of the purple-pink flower subtype is solely legal, it’s free to grow in private gardens.

The seeds contain very low levels of opiate, so they can be used safely in foods, whole or ground, or they can be also pressed to yield poppyseed oil, which helps prevent osteoporosis. Poppy seeds are a rich source of fibre and essential fatty acids, which balance the chloseterol levels. The seeds contain iron, copper, calcium, potassium, manganese, zinc and magnesium, furthermore, the amount of B vitamins is also not negligible.
One of the most popular ways to use poppy seeds in Hungary is to make poppy seed roll. It’s made of a yeast dough and filled with ground and sweetened poppy seeds scalded with milk.

Mákos kalács
Hungarian poppy seed roll – Mákos 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.

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If you are looking for a Hungarian recipe that hasn't been published on this website yet, let me know, and I'll do my best to post it.

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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