Can you imagine a world without kalács? I can’t. Sweet bread can make any day festive, its scent drives away stress and nagging details. Kalács is an integral part of Hungarians’ life, it’s baked throughout the year, not only for Easter.
Ostoros kalács is a popular braided pastry, made from a light yeast dough and enriched with butter and cocoa. This recipe makes two three-strand loaves, but don’t expect them to stick around very long… they’re so delicious that they’ll disappear in no time!
For the dough:
- 600 g (~4 3/4 cups) flour
- 3 egg yolks
- 3 tbsp oil
- 60 g (~5 tbsp) sugar
- 300 ml (~1 1/4 cups) milk
- 50 g (~1 3/4 oz) fresh yeast (~5 tsp dry yeast)
- 1/2 tsp salt
For the filling:
- 250 g (~1 cup) soft butter
- 200 g (~1 cup) sugar
- 3-4 tbsp cocoa powder
For spreading the top:
- 1 egg
Dissolve yeast and 1 tablespoon of sugar in lukewarm milk.
Place flour in a bowl. Add egg yolks, oil, 4 tablespoons of sugar, salt and activated yeast. Knead with a dough hook until smooth and pliable. Cover the dough and let it rest for 50-60 minutes.
For the filling combine soft butter with sugar and cocoa powder.
Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and form balls. Roll out each dough ball into a thin rectangle, then spread the cocoa filling on the top. Starting with one long end roll them up.
Place the rolls seam side down, press 3 pieces together at one end and braid them. Seal the second end by pressing the three pieces together and tucking under the loaf. Make the second braided loaf the same way.
Place the 2 braided loaves in a baking pan lined with parchment paper. Brush them with the egg wash and let them rise in a draught free, lukewarm place for 40-50 minutes.
Place the 2 braids in the oven preheated to 175°C / 347°F and bake for 35-40 minutes.