Prep 2 hrs
Cook 30 mins
This recipe for Polish chaÅ‚ka is a braided egg bread, raisins optional. Akin to Bohemian-Czech hoska, Jewish challah and French brioche, chalka is served year-round, but especially during the holidays. If you have any leftover chalka, it makes delicious French toast or bread pudding with orange sauce or poppyseeds. Courtesy of Barbara Rolek
- 1 cup whole milk
- 1⁄2 cup butter or 1⁄2 cup margarine, melted
- 1 cup sugar (or less, to taste)
- 1⁄2 teaspoon salt
- 2 (1/4 ounce) packages active dry yeast
- 1⁄4 cup warm water
- 2 eggs, plus
- 1 egg, beaten for glazing (room temperature works best)
- 5 1⁄2 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 cup golden raisin (optional)
- Heat the milk to lukewarm; add melted butter, sugar and salt.
- Stir to combine and let cool to about 110°F
- Add yeast and warm water in mixing bowl and stir until dissolved.
- Add lukewarm milk mixture and 2 eggs and stir to combine.
- Add 3 cups flour and beat until smooth.
- Add the raisins and remaining flour and mix, 3 to 5 minutes until smooth. (Dough will be sticky)
- Place dough in greased bowl.
- Turn over and cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double, about 1 hour.
- Punch down dough and turn out onto lightly floured board.
- If making 1 large loaf, divide dough into 3 equal pieces.
- Roll each piece into a strip about 14 inches long, and braid together the 3 strips on a parchment-lined baking pan. (Note: If making 2 loaves, divide dough into 2 equal pieces and then divide each half into 3 equal pieces, for a total of 6 pieces.)
- Loosely cover bread and let rise again until double, about 30 minutes.
- While bread is rising, preheat oven to 350°F.
- Brush remaining beaten egg lightly on bread.
- Bake 30 minutes or until golden brown.
- Let cool completely before serving.
- Store, covered, at room temperature or slice and freeze.