Kolach is a Christmas bread that is braided ring-shaped or oblong. Three round Kolachi, one on top of the other were an essential part of the Ukrainian Christmas Eve Supper (Svyata Vechera). A candle is inserted in the center of the top bread. The kolach symbolizes good luck, eternity, prosperity and a bountiful life.
- 1 tsp. white sugar
- 1/2 cup lukewarm water
- 2 pkg. active yeast
- 2 1/2 cups water
- 4 eggs, slightly beaten
- 1 tbsp. salt
- 1/2 cup white sugar
- 4 tbsp. vegetable oil
- 8 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
In a small bowl, dissolve 1 tsp. of sugar in the lukewarm water. Add the yeast and let rise for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, combine the softened yeast with the water, eggs, salt, sugar and oil. Add the flour one cup at a time and knead it until it is smooth and the dough leaves your hand. This dough should be a little stiffer than for regular bread dough Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place until double (about 30 minutes). Punch down and let it rise once more until double.
Divide the dough into 4 equal portions. Take one portion and divide it into 5 equal parts. Roll out 3 parts about 36 inches long with a thickness of about 2 pencils. Braid these 3 lengths. Join the ends and place in a greased round pan, leaving about a 1 inch space all around the edge of the pan.
Take the other 2 lengths and entwine. Remember to always start at the centre and twist to the ends. Join the ends and place in the pan in the 1 inch space around the first braid.
Take the second portion of dough and divide it into 6 equal pieces. Again, roll out each piece to about 36″ inches long with a thickness of about 2 pencils. Take 2 lengths and entwine, starting at the centre. Repeat this step with the remaining 4 strands as described above. You should now have 3 entwined lengths. Take these 3 entwined strands and cross them over onto each other (you are braiding a 3 – strand braid). Join this braid to make a circle and place it on top of the first dough that is already in the pan. Press it down slightly so that it will stick to the base.
Work the other 2 portions of dough as above.
Place in a warm place to rise until almost double in size. Gently glaze with an egg wash and bake at 350F for 45 minutes or until done.
This recipe will yield 2 round kolachi.