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Ukrainian Christmas Bread Recipe - Kolach

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Ukrainian Christmas Bread or Kolach

Ukrainian Christmas Bread or Kolach

© 2010 Barbara Rolek licensed to About.com, Inc.
This recipe for Ukrainian Christmas bread or kolach is a slightly sweet yeast bread that is braided and shaped into an oblong loaf or three round braids stacked one on top of the other. In the latter case, a candle is placed in the middle and is an essential part of the Christmas Eve supper (Sviata Vechera). The bread isn't eaten until Christmas Day because it contains eggs and Orthodox Christians fast for Advent, including Christmas Eve. Kolach is a symbol of good luck, eternity, prosperity, and is also featured at memorial services for the dead.

Here is a larger photo of Ukrainian Christmas Bread or Kolach.

Prep Time: 20 minutes

Cook Time: 1 hour

Rising: 3 hours

Total Time: 4 hours, 20 minutes

Yield: 1 loaf Ukrainian Kolach

Ingredients:

  • NOTE: This recipe will make 1 braided oblong or round loaf. To make three round braided loaves to be stacked on top of each other, triple the recipe. The three loaves should be baked in 3 tube pans of decreasing size, 12-inch, 8-inch and 10-inch would be perfect.
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1/3 cup warm water
  • 3 large eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1/2 cup warm water
  • 4 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water for glaze

Preparation:

  1. In a small bowl, mix yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/3 cup warm water. Let stand 15 minutes or until bubbly.

  2. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, beat eggs until thick. Beat in the yeast mixture, 2 tablespoons sugar, oil and salt. Then add the 1/2 cup warm water and mix until fully incorporated. Add 2 cups flour and mix well. Add remaining flour and knead until dough is smooth and blistered.

  3. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour or until doubled. Punch down dough and let rise again until doubled. Knead by hand a few times and then turn out onto a lightly floured board. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and braid. Shape into an oblong loaf and place on a parchment-lined pan. Or shape into a circle, joining the ends, and place in a greased 10-inch tube pan. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled.

  4. Heat oven to 350 degrees. Bake 50-60 minutes or until instant-read thermometer registers 180 degrees. Brush bread with egg yolk-water mixture the last 5 minutes of baking or until thermometer registers 190 degrees. Remove from oven and turn out of pans to cool completely on a wire rack.
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