Chalka (Egg-Twist Bread)

Polish egg bread chalka recipe

The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

  • Total: 60 mins
  • Prep: 30 mins
  • Cook: 30 mins
  • Rising: 2 hrs
  • Yield: 1 loaf (serves 30)

This recipe for Polish chałka (HOW-kah) is a rich, braided egg bread that may or may not contain raisins. It's similar to Bohemian-Czech vanocka, Jewish challah, and Hungarian fonott kalacs. Chalka is served year-round, but especially at Christmas and Easter. If you have any leftover chalka, it makes delicious French toast or bread pudding with orange sauce or makowki (Polish poppyseed bread pudding).

Ingredients

  • 1 stick/4 ounces butter (or margarine)
  • 1 cup sugar (or less, to taste)
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 cup milk (scalded)
  • 2 (1/4-ounce) packages active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup water (lukewarm)
  • 3 large eggs (room temperature, divided)
  • 5 1/2 cups all-purpose flour (divided)
  • 1 cup golden raisins

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients for Polish egg twist bread chalka recipe
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  2. In a small heatproof bowl or saucepan, add the butter, sugar, and salt to the scalded milk. Stir to combine and let cool to lukewarm.

    Eggs
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  3. Place the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer and, with the paddle attachment, stir until dissolved.

    Yeast
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  4. Beat two of the eggs. Add the milk mixture and the eggs to the stand mixer and combine.

    Beat two eggs
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  5. Add 3 cups of the flour and beat until smooth.

    Add flour
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  6. Add 1 cup raisins and the remaining 2 1/2 cups flour and mix, about 3 to 5 minutes, until smooth. The dough will be sticky.

    Add raisins
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  7. Place dough in greased bowl. Turn over and cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double, about 1 hour. See this quick tip for faster rising.

    Place dough in bowl
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  8. Punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly-floured board. If making 1 large loaf, divide dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a strip about 14 inches long.

    Roll out dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  9. Braid together the 3 strips on a parchment-lined baking pan.

    Braid dough
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  10. Preheat oven to 350 F. Loosely cover the bread with greased plastic wrap and let rise until double, about 30 minutes.

    Loosely cover bread
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  11. Beat the remaining egg and brush lightly on the bread.

    Butter
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska
  12. Bake for 30 minutes.

  13. Let cool completely before serving.

    Bake bread
    The Spruce / Ulyana Verbytska

Tips

  • If making 2 loaves, divide dough into 2 equal pieces, then divide each half into 3 equal pieces for a total of 6 pieces.
  • Store, covered, at room temperature or slice and freeze or freeze whole if you have room in your freezer.