Tuesday, April 19, 2011

Chalka - Polish Easter Bread Recipe

For the past few days I just felt like working with dough, so in preparation for Easter, I made 3 different kinds of Easter Bread and Pierogies. My mom made cabbage rolls but I didn't get a picture of them when they were finished so you'll have to wait until after Easter for that recipe.

This recipe for Polish Chalka worked out really well. I used a combination of raisins and chopped dried apricots but you can use 1 cup of dried fruits of your choice. The original recipe called for golden raisins, but I didn't have any.

Here's the dough after the first rising.

To make braids, divide the dough in 3 sections, then make ropes then braid. Tuck the ends under.

If you make your ropes long enough, you can bring the ends of your braid together to form a wreath. Reserve 1/4 of the dough to make eggs and a bow. Add food colouring to the beaten egg to add colour before baking.

Here's just a simple braid.

The finished product. I got both of these out of one recipe. Multiply the recipe for more loaves.

Makes 1 large loaf or 2 smaller ones

1 cup milk

1/2 cup (1 stick) butter or margarine
1 cup sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 packages active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 eggs
1 teaspoon vanilla
5 1/2 cups flour
1 cup raisins or dried chopped fruit
1 egg for glazing, beaten

Bring milk to a simmer in a pot. Remove from heat and add butter, sugar and salt. Stir until melted. Set aside to cool (you don't want to add it hot or you'll kill the yeast).

Mix yeast with warm water until dissolved, then add milk mixture, eggs and vanilla to combine. Add 3 cups of flour and beat until smooth. Add raisins and remaining flour. A sticky dough will form. Kneed for about 5 minutes, then set into a bowl. Rub with a little oil and cover with plastic. Set in a warm place to rise for about 1 hour or until doubled.

Punch down the dough and divide in 2. You can braid it or form it into any shape you like. Set onto a parchment lined baking sheet and cover again with plastic wrap. Let rise for about 30 minutes.

Preheat oven to 350F. Brush tops of bread with beaten egg, then bake for 30 minutes. Cool on wire racks.

You can serve this for breakfast or an evening snack with butter and jam. And don't forget the coffee or tea.


Tip: You can colour your bread by dividing the beaten egg into smaller bowls, then using a few drops of food colouring. Paint your bread with the coloured egg before baking.

You can also use this recipe to make buns or smaller loaves. You could get 4 small loaves out of this recipe and give them as gifts when you go visiting your single friends or couples. People with kids will need a full size loaf. Believe me, my 3 year old at 1/4 of the loaf and I must have eaten 1/2 a loaf myself. Now I remember why I don't make bread regularly.

I heat my oven for 2 or 3 minutes on 200F just until it starts to get warm, not hot. Then I place my dough in the warm oven to rise. Close the door. If you have a big microwave, heat a glass of water for 1 minute then place your bowl of dough in the microwave with the hot glass of water and close the door.

Original Recipe from About.com.


  1. This recipe is so great! I made it for this past Easter, and everyone LOVED it.

  2. Can't wait to try this for Easter! Yummy and so festive!