Easter is around the corner and so is the start of the excessive baking! In Hungary, there is no Easter without kalács or challah bread (Okay challah and kalács are not the same thing but pretty similar). This is pretty much my all time favorite Easter food which I like to eat with butter and have a nice hot cocoa with it. So simple yet so delicious! This bread is super moist and soft! I've never made one before because we usually just buy it... I know. Shame on me! But this year, I got a request from Trixi to share the recipe of it. So, I took this as a challenge and started looking for recipes that would result in a beautiful and tender kalács. Well, after reading through many many recipes I just stuck to a traditional Hungarian one. And am I glad that I did! It turned out to be perfect! Okay, maybe next time I could improve on my braiding technique and probably shouldn't be so sloppy about the dough rolling part, but oh well!
I am pretty dang proud of myself! :) It wasn't even difficult so if you are afraid of working with yeast as I was, then I'll tell ya, there is absolutely nothing to worry about! :)
So I'll just give you the recipe and encourage you to try it out!
ps: This bread makes the ultimate peanut butter&jelly sandwich! I just threw one slice into the toaster and it burned just a bit... But due to the sugar in the bread, the burn transformed into a slight caramelly taste and smell. So when I spread peanut butter and jelly on it... The flavors melted together and something utterly delicious came alive!
Fonott Kalács / Challah
560 gram all-purpose flour
75 gram sugar
50 gram butter - melted and cooled
7 gram active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
3 egg yolks
3,2 deciliter milk
Warm up the milk in the microwave for 30 seconds. Add one teaspoon sugar and dissolve the yeast in it with your fingers. When there are no lumps anymore, add 4 tablespoons of flour. One spoon at a time. Mix it well, sprinkle some flour on top. Cover it with a cloth and place it in a warm place ( I put it in the microwave without turning it on) for 20 minutes. When it's fermented it will double its size and should look like this.
While the yeast is rising, melt the butter and let it cool. Mix it with the egg yolks, sugar and salt. Put the mixture in the microwave for a few seconds so they melt together just a tiny bit. When the yeast has fermented add it to the egg-butter mixture. Stir it together and add in the flour. Start kneading until you get a slightly firm dough. It's a bit sticky but should clear the sides of the bowl. Looks like this.
Coat the top with oil lightly and cover it with a foil and let the dough rise for an hour. I turned my oven to 40C (105F) and put the bowl in it. It makes the dough rise faster. After an hour, knead it once more and let it rise for another 15 minutes.
After the 15 minutes, place the dough on a floured surface and divide it into 3 parts.
Roll each parts into ropes.
And now it's time to braid! Pinch the ends of the ropes together and start braiding them as if you did with your hair :)
Whisk the remaining egg whites and brush the top of the braided dough with it.
Let the dough soak the egg whites for 15 minutes and then brush it one more time.
Bake it for 20 minutes on 200C (390F).
Serve it with jam or butter or anything you like. :)