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Fonott kalács - Celebratory braided loaf


Fonott kalács (HUN) or pleteni kolač (SRB) is a sweet, yeasted bread we typically have on Christmas Eve and Easter Eve. During holiday season, the bakeries back home make a lot of it, but needless to say that the home-baked, fresh-out-of-the-oven kind stands above them all. At home, I am the responsible one for making sure everyone gets their daily intake of sweet bread, and as such I have experimented with a lot of different braids and recipes growing up. Now, there can simply be no holidays without having braided bread on the dinner table. In fact, I have gotten so obsessed with it that last year, when we spent the Easter holidays at a remote summerhouse in Jutland, I made sure to carry all the necessary ingredients all the way from our home in Copenhagen so that I could hand knead and serve sweet bread for Easter dinner (except I forgot to bring a scale so we had to drive around until we found an open supermarket that sold kitchen scales, lol 😅). In any case, I made sure that most of my international friends understood that this bread is an important centerpiece of the holiday table.

 

Ingredients

500 g fine flour for baking

50 g butter, melted

50 g icing sugar

25 g fresh yeast (or 7 g dry yeast)

250 ml milk

2 egg yolks

1 whole egg

pinch of salt


Instructions

Note: Before you start, it is super important to make sure that all the ingredients you work with are brought to room temperature so the yeast doesn't get a cold shock and so the bread rises nicely.


Crumble and stir the yeast into the lukewarm milk and add about a teaspoon of sugar. Let it sit and rise for about 15-20 minutes. Sift together the flour and icing sugar into a large mixing bowl (I use my KitchenAid bowl for this), add the salt and the 2 egg yolks. Once the yeast has been activated, you can add the mixture to the dry ingredients, and start kneading the dough with a stand mixer on low speed (or by hand if you're hard core). Once the ingredients come together a bit, you can start adding the melted butter gradually. Keep kneading for about 5 minutes, until the dough has a smooth surface. Remove from the mixer and knead by hand a few times, cover and let it proof for 45-60 minutes (or until it doubles in size) in a warm place.


Preheat the oven to 180°C (350 F), mode: top and bottom baking.


Slice the dough into 6 equal parts for a large 6-braid loaf, or 12 parts for making 2 smaller 6-braid loaves. Using your hands, roll each dough ball into long sausages and shape the loaf by braiding (see this video on how to do a 6-strand braid).


Whisk the whole egg and brush the entire surface of the braided loaf with the egg wash. Let the loaf rest for a second proof (15-20 minutes). Brush with egg wash once again. You may sprinkle with sesame seeds, poppy seeds or almond slices.


Bake until golden brown for 25-30 minutes. 2x smaller loaves may be baked at 190°C (375 F).


Enjoy with butter, marmalade and/or savory toppings. Hope you like fonott kalács as much as I do! :)


References

Find the original recipe in Hungarian by TT konyhája here.

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Hi, thanks for stopping by!

I'm Julia, a recent PhD graduate in Biochemistry & Molecular Biology who now works as a Medical Writer in Scientific Communication. I was born in Subotica (SRB) and am currently based in Copenhagen (DK). 

I'm passionate about experimenting in my kitchen and all about turning family recipes into stories.

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