Kalacs: Basic Sweet Dough

This tender and sweet dough recipe is originally called kalács in Hungarian. The name was derived from the Slavic koláč, taken from kolo, which means circle or wheel, indicating to the round shape this dough every so often takes. Over the years, these basic cake rolls were incorporated with fillings such as poppy seeds, raisins, fruits, ground walnuts and a variety of jams. Being spread in other central and eastern European countries, it was then more widely known as Beigli / Poppy Seed Roll / Walnut Roll. There is Kalacs for every occasion, but usually made for Christmas or Easter in almost every Hungarian household. These cake rolls appear in different shapes-braided, ringed, sometimes in the shape of a pretzel and in special occasions, like that of a tree/chimney cake. And although 1 large loaf can take about almost 2 hours to make, the ingredients and method are both so simple and easy.

Equipment:

Measuring cups, spoons and a fork
Baking bowls
Hand mixer/ stand mixer
Rubber Spatula
Non-stick cooking spray/ Oil (for covering the dough)
Plastic Wrap

RatingDifficultyIntermediate
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Prep Time20 minsCook Time1 hr 30 minsTotal Time1 hr 50 mins
 2 packets active dry yeast
 ½ cup milk (lukewarm)
 2 tsp sugar
 4 - 5 cups all-purpose flour
 4 large egg yolks
 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
 1 ½ tsp vanilla
 1 stick / 4 oz unsalted butter (softened)
 ½ tsp salt
 ½ cup lukewarm milk
To proof the yeast:
1

In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine by stirring yeast with 1/2 cup lukewarm milk—ideally between 105ºF and 115ºF—and sugar.

2

Sprinkle a pinch of flour and mix gently with a fork. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until
bubbly.

To make the dough:
3

With a hand mixer or a stand mixer, whisk together flour, egg yolks, yogurt or sour
cream, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

4

Incorporate 4 cups flour and continue whisking. At this point, the dough should be
flakey/crumbly.

5

Pour in the prepared yeast mixture and remaining 1/2 cup milk.

6

Just continue mixing until well combined.

a. Note: We should achieve a smooth, but sticky dough. If necessary, add more
flour (only up to max 1 cup).

7

With a rubber spatula, scrape down sides of the bowl to clean.

8

Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise for more or less 45 minutes until doubled. ​

9

On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough according to your chosen recipe – twisted, braided, ringed, etc. (It works well in any cinnamon roll or coffee cake recipe)

10

After it is shaped, bake at 350°F, letting it rise again until nearly doubled.

Ingredients

 2 packets active dry yeast
 ½ cup milk (lukewarm)
 2 tsp sugar
 4 - 5 cups all-purpose flour
 4 large egg yolks
 1 cup plain Greek yogurt (or sour cream)
 1 ½ tsp vanilla
 1 stick / 4 oz unsalted butter (softened)
 ½ tsp salt
 ½ cup lukewarm milk

Directions

To proof the yeast:
1

In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine by stirring yeast with 1/2 cup lukewarm milk—ideally between 105ºF and 115ºF—and sugar.

2

Sprinkle a pinch of flour and mix gently with a fork. Let it sit for 5-10 minutes until
bubbly.

To make the dough:
3

With a hand mixer or a stand mixer, whisk together flour, egg yolks, yogurt or sour
cream, vanilla, and salt in a large mixing bowl.

4

Incorporate 4 cups flour and continue whisking. At this point, the dough should be
flakey/crumbly.

5

Pour in the prepared yeast mixture and remaining 1/2 cup milk.

6

Just continue mixing until well combined.

a. Note: We should achieve a smooth, but sticky dough. If necessary, add more
flour (only up to max 1 cup).

7

With a rubber spatula, scrape down sides of the bowl to clean.

8

Cover with oiled plastic wrap and let it rise for more or less 45 minutes until doubled. ​

9

On a lightly floured surface, shape the dough according to your chosen recipe – twisted, braided, ringed, etc. (It works well in any cinnamon roll or coffee cake recipe)

10

After it is shaped, bake at 350°F, letting it rise again until nearly doubled.

Kalacs: Basic Sweet Dough
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