Description Edit

The Circle of Serbian Sisters in Milwaukee reached back to a homeland in the Balkans for this egg- and butter-rich bread that is braided and then coiled on the baking sheet to rise impressively into a loaf of twined golden brown ropes.

The loaf is baked and served most often on one's patron saint day, but it is equally good anytime. "God, I could live on this bread," wrote James Orgill, who is always searching out little-known but delicious recipes and passing them along to this author. Like Mr. Orgill, I could live on this bread. Almost. Kolach is an unusually fine loaf to be made with so few ingredients. True, some are especially rich.



Ingredients Edit

Equipment Edit

  • 1 large baking sheet, teflon or sprinkled with cornmeal.

Directions Edit

  1. In a mixing or mixer bowl cream by hand or with a mixer flat beater the butter, egg yolks, sugar, salt, lemon zest, and juice.
  2. Mix the milk with the butter and egg yolk mixture.
  3. Measure in 2 cups flour.
  4. Add the yeast.
  5. Stir to blend well.
  6. When the batter is smooth, add flour, ½ cup at a time, and each time stir vigorously.
  7. When the dough has formed a mass that can be lifted out of the bowl and placed on the floured work surface, the dough is ready to knead.
  8. Or, if using a mixer, attach the dough hook.
  9. Add sprinkles of flour if the dough continues to be sticky during the kneading period. (10 minutes)
  10. Knead the dough with an aggressive push-turn-fold motion or under the dough hook for 10 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and elastic.
  11. At this point it should not stick to the work surface or to the sides of the mixer bowl.
  1. With a food processor, attach the short plastic dough blade.
  2. The sequence for adding ingredients varies from above.
  3. Place the butter, egg yolks, sugar, salt, lemon zest and juice in the work bowl and pulse several times to cream.
  4. Measure 3 cups flour into the bowl.
  5. Add the yeast.
  6. With the machine running, pour the milk through the feed tube.
  7. When the dough is a smooth batter, stop the machine and add flour, ¼ cup at a time, either through the feed tube or by removing the cover.
  8. If flour around the edges of the bowl is not pulled in by the blade, remove the cover and scrape the flour into the center and under the blade. (6 minutes)
  9. When the dough becomes a mass and rides around the work bowl on the blade, knead for 60 seconds.
  10. As it spins the dough will clean (somewhat) the sides of the bowl.
  11. When the dough is first turned from the bowl it may seem quite moist-sprinkle with flour and knead for a few moments.

First rising Edit

  1. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover tightly with a length of plastic wrap, and put aside at room temperature to double in bulk, about 1 hour. [1]

Shaping Edit

  1. When the dough has risen, turn onto a floured work surface and divide in half.
  2. Divide each half into 3 equal parts.
  3. With the palms of your hands, roll each part into a rope about 24" long.
  4. Braid.
  5. Place the braid on the baking sheet and coil it.
  6. Tuck the end of the braid into the coil so that it doesn't break loose as the dough rises.
  7. With your hands, gently push the coils into a symmetrical shape. (15 minutes)

Second rising Edit

  1. Cover the 2 coils with parchment paper or a cloth and put aside at room temperature until the dough doubles in bulk, about 50 minutes.

Baking Edit

  1. Preheat the oven to 350°F about 20 minutes before baking. [2]
  2. Brush the loaves with the egg-milk glaze, and carefully push the nuts into a pattern over the top of the loaves.
  3. Place the baking sheet in the moderate oven and bake until golden, about 1 hour.
  4. Turn one of the loaves over.
  5. If it is brown, and sounds hard and hollow when tapped with a forefinger, the loaves are done.

Final step Edit

  1. The first thing to do is admire the twined braids.
  2. Beautiful! call in the family to look at them.
  3. Allow the loaves to cool for 10 minutes before lifting them with a metal spatula and placing them on a metal rack to cool.
  4. Delicious toasted.

Notes Edit

  1. If using a new fast-rising yeast at the recommended higher temperatures, reduce the rising times by about half.
  2. if using a convection oven, reduce heat 50°F. Some convection ovens will not accommodate a baking sheet suitably large to take both loaves at once. It may be necessary to bake separately-placing the reserved loaf in the refrigerator or cool place while the first loaf bakes.
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