Hungarian Basic Sweet Dough

Hungarian braided sweet dough
Elena Botta / Getty Images
Prep: 20 mins
Cook: 0 mins
Rise time: 90 mins
Total: 110 mins
Servings: 10 servings
Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)
267 Calories
19g Fat
17g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 10
Amount per serving
Calories 267
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 19g 25%
Saturated Fat 10g 50%
Cholesterol 131mg 44%
Sodium 336mg 15%
Total Carbohydrate 17g 6%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Protein 7g
Calcium 105mg 8%
*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 tender basic Hungarian sweet dough recipe is known as kalács in Hungarian. The word comes from the Slavic koláč, which comes from kolo, which means circle or wheel, alluding to the round shape this dough sometimes takes. There is a kalács for every occasion, including weddings when it takes on a braided appearance signifying the intertwining of two lives. They appear braided for Easter and Christmas, often with raisins and sometimes nuts. Braids, rings and pretzel shapes are made for funerals. And special occasions see the appearance of chimney cakes (also known as tree cakes) or kűrtőskalács.


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

Steps to Make It

  1. To proof the yeast: In a small bowl or glass measuring cup, combine yeast with 1/2 cup lukewarm milk and sugar. Sprinkle with flour and mix with a fork. Let proof until bubbly.

  2. To make the dough: In a large mixing bowl using a or wooden spoon, or a stand mixer with the paddle attachment, mix together flour, egg yolks, yogurt or sour cream, vanilla, and salt. Add 4 cups flour and mix. The dough will be crumbly at this point. Add the yeast mixture and remaining 1/2 cup milk, and mix until well incorporated. If necessary, add up to 1 additional cup flour to achieve a smooth, but sticky, dough. The dough will probably not clean the sides of the bowl. Scrape down sides of the bowl, cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise until doubled.​

  3. Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface and use in your favorite recipe calling for a yeast-raised sweet dough. After it is shaped according to your recipe, let it rise again until nearly doubled and bake at 350 degrees. Try it in Hungarian Egg Twist Bread Recipe and Hungarian Sweet Roll Recipe. But it will work well in any cinnamon roll or coffee cake recipe.