|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 8g||10%|
|Saturated Fat 4g||22%|
|Total Carbohydrate 45g||16%|
|Dietary Fiber 2g||7%|
|Total Sugars 7g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||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.|
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).
"The chalka was soft, flavorful, and it was great with and without the raisins. The dough was slightly sticky, and braiding it was quite easy. I made it with 1/2 cup of sugar and it took about 1 hour and 10 minutes for the dough to double—more sugar increases the rising time a bit. " —Diana Rattray
1 cup milk, scalded
1/2 to 1 cup sugar, or to taste
4 ounces (8 tablespoons) unsalted butter, more for greasing
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
2 (1/4-ounce) packets active dry yeast (4 1/2 teaspoons)
1/4 cup lukewarm water
3 large eggs, room temperature, divided
5 1/2 cups (663 grams) all-purpose flour, divided, more for the work surface
1 cup golden raisins
Gather the ingredients.
Add the milk, sugar, butter, and salt to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside until lukewarm.
Put the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Stir until dissolved.
In a small bowl, beat 2 eggs. Add the milk-sugar mixture and the eggs to the stand mixer. Stir to combine.
Add 3 cups of flour and stir until smooth.
Switch to the dough hook. Add the raisins and 2 1/4 cups flour. Knead on medium speed until smooth, 3 to 5 minutes. The dough should be slightly sticky. Add more of the remaining 1/4 cup of flour if the dough is too wet.
Grease a large bowl with butter. Add the dough, turning to coat in the bowl. Cover and let rise until double in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours (see this quick tip for faster rising).
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 rope about 14 inches long.
Braid the 3 ropes together on a parchment-lined baking sheet, tucking the ends under the loaf.
Position a rack in the center of the oven and heat to 325 F.
Loosely cover the bread with greased plastic wrap and let rise until double in size, about 30 minutes.
Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the bread lightly with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.
Let the bread cool completely before serving or storing.
- To check for doneness, insert an instant-read thermometer in the thickest part of the bread and look for an internal temperature of about 195 F to 200 F.
- If making 2 loaves, divide dough ball into 2 equal pieces, then divide each half into 3 equal pieces for a total of 6 pieces.
- Instead of a 3-strand braided loaf, try 4 or 6 strands.
- Replace the golden raisins with regular seedless raisins or another kind of chopped dried fruit.
- After you apply the egg wash, sprinkle with sesame seeds or poppy seeds and then bake as directed.
How to Store Chalka
- Place the cooled chalka in an airtight container or resealable bag and store at room temperature for up to 3 days.
- To freeze, wrap the cooled chalka in plastic wrap and foil Freeze for up to 2 month. Defrost in the refrigerator overnight.