Chalka (Polish Egg-Twist Bread) Recipe

Chalka (Polish Egg-Twist Bread)

The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Prep: 30 mins
Cook: 35 mins
Rising: 2 hrs
Total: 3 hrs 5 mins
Servings: 15 servings
Yield: 1 loaf
Nutrition Facts (per serving)
277 Calories
8g Fat
45g Carbs
7g Protein
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Nutrition Facts
Servings: 15
Amount per serving
Calories 277
% Daily Value*
Total Fat 8g 10%
Saturated Fat 4g 22%
Cholesterol 54mg 18%
Sodium 236mg 10%
Total Carbohydrate 45g 16%
Dietary Fiber 2g 7%
Total Sugars 7g
Protein 7g
Vitamin C 0mg 2%
Calcium 41mg 3%
Iron 3mg 14%
Potassium 175mg 4%
*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 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

chalka, polish egg bread, braided/tester image
A Note From Our Recipe Tester

Ingredients

  • 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

Steps to Make It

  1. Gather the ingredients.

    Ingredients to make Chalka

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  2. Add the milk, sugar, butter, and salt to a medium bowl. Stir to combine. Set aside until lukewarm.

    A bowl of milk, sugar, butter, and salt

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  3. Put the yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Stir until dissolved.

    Yeast and water in the bowl of a stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  4. In a small bowl, beat 2 eggs. Add the milk-sugar mixture and the eggs to the stand mixer. Stir to combine.

    Milk mixture and eggs in the bowl of a stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  5. Add 3 cups of flour and stir until smooth.

    Flour added to the bowl of the stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  6. 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.

    Flour and golden raisins added to the bowl of the stand mixer

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  7. 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).

    A large greased bowl with dough

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  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 rope about 14 inches long.

    Three long pieces of dough on a board

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  9. Braid the 3 ropes together on a parchment-lined baking sheet, tucking the ends under the loaf.

    Braided dough on parchment paper

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  10. 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.

    Braided dough covered in plastic wrap

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  11. Beat the remaining egg with 1 tablespoon water. Brush the bread lightly with the egg wash. Bake until golden brown, 30 to 35 minutes.

    Braided dough brushed with egg wash

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

  12. Let the bread cool completely before serving or storing.

    Baked Chalka served with butter

    The Spruce Eats / Cara Cormack

Tips

  • 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.

Recipe Variations

  • 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.