Bulgarian Christmas Bread (Koledna Pitka)

Bulgarian Christmas bread

​The Spruce 

Prep: 60 mins
Cook: 30 mins
Rising time: 45 mins
Total: 2 hrs 15 mins
Servings: 20 servings
Yield: 1 loaf
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
227 Calories
4g Fat
40g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 20
Amount per serving
Calories 227
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 4g 5%
Saturated Fat 1g 3%
Cholesterol 37mg 12%
Sodium 333mg 14%
Total Carbohydrate 40g 14%
Dietary Fiber 1g 5%
Total Sugars 1g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 0%
Calcium 14mg 1%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 71mg 2%
*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.
(Nutrition information is calculated using an ingredient database and should be considered an estimate.)

This recipe for Bulgarian Christmas bread (koledna pitka) requires only one rise. It is typically eaten on Christmas Eve and throughout the holidays. Often, a silver coin is tucked inside and the one to find it should expect good luck in the coming year.

Even though Bulgaria is a predominantly Orthodox Christian country, Rozhdestvo Hristovo, literally "Nativity of Jesus," is celebrated on Dec. 25, according to the Gregorian calendar (other Orthodox Christians follow the Julian calendar). 

There are many ways to shape this bread, but I think this sunflower look is most festive. My recipe contains eggs, which some Orthodox Christians do not eat during Advent, so be forewarned before you start the recipe.

If you want to have a traditional Balkan celebration, these Bulgarian Christmas recipes should be a good start.


  • 1 cup lukewarm water

  • 1 (1/4-ounce) package active dry yeast

  • 2 tablespoons sugar

  • 2 1/5 pounds ( 1 kilogram) all-purpose flour

  • 4 tablespoons oil, or butter, softened

  • 4 large eggs, room temperature, reserving 1 egg yolk to brush on bread

  • 1 tablespoon salt

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Bulgarian Christmas bread
    ​The Spruce
  2. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in sugar and 2 tablespoons flour until well combined.

    Dissolve yeast in water
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  3. Transfer to a stand mixer bowl with a dough hook attachment and add remaining flour, oil or butter, 3 whole eggs and 1 egg white, and salt.

    Add eggs and butter
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  4. Knead until smooth and pliable. If the dough is too dry, add 1 tablespoon warm water at a time until desired consistency is met. Likewise, if the dough is too wet, add 1 tablespoon flour at a time until desired consistency is met.

    Dough in bowl
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  5. Divide dough into 7 equal-sized balls.

    Divide dough
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  6. Place 1 ball in the center of a greased 12-inch baking tray, like a pizza pan without a lip. Cover with greased plastic wrap.

    Place plastic wrap over dough
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  7. Roll each of the other balls into 10-inch circles and, using a pizza cutter, cut into 8 triangular pieces.

    Roll out dough
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  8. Lightly brush the top of each triangular piece with oil or melted butter.

    Lightly brush dough
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  9. Stack 3 pieces on top of each other. Twist to form a cone. Repeat with remaining dough. You will have 16 "cones."

    Stack pieces on top of each other
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  10. Arrange these around the center ball of dough with the wide side of the cone facing out. Cover and let rise until almost doubled. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 375 F.

    Arrange around center
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  11. Slash an "X" in the middle ball of risen dough.

    Slash an x
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  12. Combine the remaining egg yolk with 1 tablespoon of water, mix together, and use to brush all over the bread.

    Combining remaining egg yolk
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  13. Bake about 15 minutes and cover top loosely with foil to prevent over-browning.

    Bake in oven
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  14. Bake an additional 15 minutes or until the instant-read thermometer registers 190 F when inserted into the thickest part of the dough.

    ​The Spruce
  15. Remove to a wire rack to cool completely.

    Cool on wire rack
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  16. To serve, pull off the "cones."