Kolachi (braided circle bread)

I was a lucky kid: my mother grew up in a home where Christmas was celebrated on December 25th. My father's family celebrated Christmas on January 6th. In our house, we celebrated both. On December 25th we would exchange gifts and have a big dinner. The second, "Ukrainian Christmas" was all about food. Kutia, perogies, borsch, cabbage rolls... There were a few times when we travelled to my Baba and Gida's home and joined my aunts, uncles and cousins for a traditional Christmas Eve supper. Twelve meatless dishes are served to remind us of the twelve apostles. That is a lot of good, good food.

My First Kolach!
One of my favorite parts of Ukrainian Christmas was the kolach: a braided bread that decorated the table. Sometimes three were stacked on each other to represent the Holy Trinity. Rich and sweet, I could not wait for my mother to take the candle out if the middle and let us cut it up.

Tonight I decided to make kolachi. This recipe is adapted from one of my favorite cook books, Ukrainian Daughters' Cookbook. G-man helped in the beginning by mixing the ingredients together and kneading with his tiny hands. It was bedtime by the time the dough was rising, so I finished up and baked it while he was asleep.

To make three Kolachi:

1 cup lukewarm water
2 tsp sugar
1 tbsp yeast

4 cups lukewarm water
1 cup sugar
3/4 melted butter
1 tsp salt
5 eggs, beaten

18-20 cups flour (approximately)

Dissolve the sugar and yeast in the first cup of warm water and allow it to stand for ten minutes. Add the cup of sugar, melted butter, salt and beaten eggs to the four cups of lukewarm water. Mix well, then stir in the yeast mixture. Add enough flour to make a dough that is a bit stiffer than regular bread dough. Knead in as much flour as you can by hand, then continue kneading for another ten minutes. "Grease" the dough with melted butter, place in a big bowl, and cover it with a tea towel. Allow the dough to rise until double, punch down, and let it double again.

Divide the dough into three equal portions. Punch one portion down, cover in the bowl and place in the fridge unless you have an oven large enough to bake all three at once.

To form each kolach:

Divide the dough into six parts.
30" ropes, twisted

Roll two of the parts into ropes, about 30" long. Put the two ropes side by side. Starting at the middle, twist the ropes together. Twist the second half. Place the twist in a circle along the edge of a well-greased, 9" foil pan. Join the ends together so it looks like a continuous circle.
Form circle, join edges

Roll the remaining four portions into 24" ropes. Twist two of the ropes together, then twist the other two. Take the two twists, and gently entwine them, in the opposite direction. Take the double-twist and place it in a circle on top of the first circle. Pinch the ends together. If you like, you can cut the ends at and angle before joining them.

Two, 24" twists

Entwine in the Opposite Direction

Form circle atop first circle

Let it rise until double again. If you leave it too long, you will lose some detail of the braid.

Brush with beaten egg and bake for about an hour at 350F. The bread will sound hollow when you tap it. When the first two kolachi are in the oven, take the third out of the fridge to form and rise.

Check out Traditional Foods blog's Friday Food Flicks, where foodies from all over post food pictures.

I also shared this post with these holiday-inspired recipe shares: Hearth and Soul Blog Hop,  Full Plate Thursday and Foodie-Friends Friday.



  1. So that's how it's made! Looks delicious! And yes, celebrating Christmas twice is wonderful! Enjoy your day!

  2. Wow, what a beauitful bread. Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday.
    Your co-host from Nosh My Way,

  3. Your Kolachi is just beautiful, and one of my favorite Christmas treats. Thank you so much for sharing with Full Plate Thursday and a very Merry Christmas to you and your family.
    Come Back Soon!
    Miz Helen

  4. So beautiful. Hope you have a Merry Christmas BOTH times! Thanks for sharing on Foodie Friends Friday! Please come back and vote on Sunday!

  5. What a delicious bread! We also celebrate Christmas and the Epiphany on the January 6th. If our kids are good the wise men bring them gifts and if they are naughty, the camels leave them a "gift". :)

  6. Congratulations!
    Your recipe is featured on Full Plate Thursday this week. Enjoy your new Red Plate and have a very Happy New Year!
    Come Back Soon.
    Miz Helen


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