Author Topic: Traditional-Ukrainian Christmas Kalach - Rizdvyanyy Kolach (illustrated how to form it & photo)  (Read 13543 times)

Olga Drozd

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Traditional-Ukrainian Christmas Kalach or Kolach -  Rizdvyanyy Kolach

The name is derived from a Ukrainian word “kolo”, meaning a circle, which is an old symbol of eternity and general welfare.  The braided three entwined rolls also have religious meaning, as they represent the Holy Trinity.

1 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon ground ginger (optional as a dough enhancer)
1 cup lukewarm water
1 Tablespoon active dry yeast

2 cups scalded milk, lukewarm
4 eggs, beaten
1 tablespoon salt
1/2 cup sugar
1/2 cup cooking oil or other fat
3 cups sifted flour
5 to 6 cups sifted flour (I used approximately 6 2/3 cups flour)

1 egg beaten with 2 Tablespoons water for glaze


"Click on photo to view larger size"
Dissolve the sugar, ground ginger in the lukewarm water and sprinkle the yeast over it.  Let it stand for 10 minutes.  Combine the softened yeast with the lukewarm milk, eggs, salt, sugar, cooking oil, and 3 cups of flour. Beat until smooth.  Cover and let the batter rise in a warm place until light and bubbly, about 1 hour or longer.  Mix in the remaining 5 to 6 cups or more if needed flour and knead until smooth and elastic.  The dough should be somewhat stiffer than for bread so that the kalach will hold its ornamental shape.  Do not make the dough too stiff.  Cover and let it rise in a warm place until double in bulk.  Punch down and let it rise again.

Divide the dough into 2 portions.  Shape each portion as directed below.  The ornamental shaping may seem complicated and troublesome at first but the procedure is really quite simple.

(1) Shape the divided portion of dough into a long roll.  Cut it into 6 equal parts.  Roll each into a long roll about 20 inches or slightly more in length.  Take 2 of these rolls and entwine them from left to right, starting at the centre. Turn the roll around and entwine the other half in the same manner.  Repeat this operation with the remaining 4 rolls. There will be 3 entwined rolls.

(2) Braid the 3 entwined rolls very neatly and evenly, starting at the centre.  Then turn the partly braided roll around and finish braiding the other half.

(3) Trim the  ends neatly, bring them together, and join by pressing gently.  This will form a circle with an opening in the centre.  Be sure that the opening is large enough to remain open when the loaf is baked.  The baked loaf should look like a wreath.

(4) Roll the trimmed off dough
into 2 thin rolls about 30 inches or more in length.  Entwine them together as in step 1.  Encircle the whole loaf with this entwined roll, joining the ends very neatly.

(5) Place in a greased, shallow pan of a suitable size.  If desired, the centre may be kept open by placing a well greased, tall, narrow tin can in it.  A 12-ounce baking powder can or other similar can may serve the purpose.  Be sure to grease the can generously.  Cover and set the loaves in a warm place to rise until almost double in bulk.  Take care not to let the loaves rise longer than necessary as the ornamental finish may lose its shape. Brush with a beaten egg diluted with 2 tablespoons of water.  Bake in a moderately hot oven 400º F. for about 15 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350º F. and continue baking for about 40 minutes longer, or until done. This recipe will make 2 medium loaves of kalach. 

« Last Edit: November 30, 2014, 04:01:39 PM by Olga Drozd »