Introduction: Kalacs (Hungarian Sweet Bread)

No Hungarian Easter is complete without Kalacs!  This sweet, egg bread is filled with walnuts, or poppy seeds (if that's how you roll but I never understood the whole poppy seed thing).  The smell of this baking filled my grandmother's house during the holiday.  But there is no reason to limit making Kalacs to a particular season. It also makes a great addition to a brunch menu or just as an accompaniment to your coffee or tea!

This specific recipe is taken from my family's cookbook, compiled in 1999.  I made some minor edits to the attached page.  For a couple more traditional dishes, see:

Dobos Torte
Chicken Paprikas

Step 1: Ingredients and Tools

1 cup butter, softened
1 cup sugar
4 eggs
1 tsp salt
8 cups flour
1 1/2 pkg dry yeast
1 pint lukewarm milk

Walnut Filling
2 lbs walnuts (0.9 kgs), finely ground
3 cups sugar
Grated rind of one lemon
1 cup butter, melted

Materials and Tools
Food processor/chopper/coffee grinder - to grind nuts
Rolling pin
Baking Sheet
Foil or parchment paper
Measuring cups/spoons
Mixing bowls

Step 2: Make Dough

  1. Measure liquid into pan. Blend in butter, sugar and salt. Warm over low heat to 120 - 130oF (49 - 54oC)
  2. Measure half the flour into a mixing bowl and blend in dry yeast.
  3. Pour warmed mixture into flour/yeast mixture. Add eggs one at a time, beating 1/2 minute at low speed between each.  Scrap down sides of bowl. Switch mixer to high speed and continue beating for 3 minutes.
  4. Gradually add white flour until a soft dough is formed. Set aside in war place to rise to about double in size.
  5. Divide dough into 5 parts

Step 3: Walnut Filling

After grinding the walnuts, simply but thoroughly, mix them with the sugar and lemon rind.

Step 4: Roll Out and Up

  1. Roll out each portion to about 9" x 12" (23 x 30 cm) rectangle
  2. Spread with two cups ground nuts
  3. Drizzle melted butter over nuts
  4. Roll up, folding under ends
  5. Place on a foil lined baking pan
  6. Let rest uncovered for about 20 minutes

Step 5: Brush and Bake

Brush entire loaf with beaten egg and bake at 350oF (180oC) about 30 - 35 minutes, until golden brown.

Cool, cut and serve.  

Kalacs freezes really well, at least for 6 -8 weeks. So you can make a full recipe and keep a few loaves in the freezer for another occasion or unexpected company.

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