Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Hungarian Cinnamon Bread (Kalacs)

Having made a couple savory dishes in the past couple weeks, it seemed time to make a sweeter dish, but having made cookies recently as well (and, truly, many many times before that), the time seemed right to try out a new, sweet baked bread recipe. I give you Kalacs, a Hungarian cinnamon bread:


For the Dough:

  • 3 cups all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup bread flour
  • 1/4 cup white sugar
  • 1 tsp salt salt
  • 1 package dry active yeast (1/4 oz)
  • 1 egg
  • 1/4 cup melted butter
  • 1 1/4 cup hot milk (110 degrees or so)
  • 1 tsp vanilla extract (imitation or regular)

For the Filling:

  • Melted butter for brushing (about 2 tablespoons)
  • 1/2 cup brown sugar
  • 1 tsp cinnamon
  • 1 tbsp cocoa powder
  • 1 tsp light brown sugar
  • 1/2 tsp vanilla
  • 3 tbsp semi-sweet chocolate chips, finely chopped


  1. In a small bowl, combine hot milk and yeast package. Allow to proof 5-8 minutes, or until a light froth is visible on the surface of the milk.
  2. In a large bowl, whisk together egg, melted butter, vanilla extract, and milk and yeast mixture. In a separate bowl, combine flours, white sugar, and salt.
  3. Add the dry mix to the wet ingridents and kneed well until an elastic dough is formed, approx 4-5 minutes. Add up to 1/4 cup additional all-purpose flour if necessary to get the dough to cohere.
  4. Place the dough in a greased bowl, cover, and set in a warm place to rise until the dough doubles in bulk, approx 1 1/2 hours.
  5. While the dough is rising, prepare the filling. In a small bowl, combine 1/4 quarter cup brown sugar and 1/2 tsp cinnamon, and mix well. In a separate bowl, combine remaining brown sugar and cinnamon, cocoa powder, brown sugar, vanilla, and chopped chocolate chips, and mix well.
  6. Punch down the dough, divide into two equal pieces, and roll each into a long rectangle, approx 8" by 15", on a well-floured surface. Brush each rectangle with melted butter. Sprinkle each with one of the prepared filling mixtures.
  7. Firmly roll each rectangle into a log, pinch the ends closed, and place into individual greased loaf-pans. Cover, and allow to rise in a warm place approx. 1/2 hour.
  8. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F.
  9. Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter. Score the tops of the loaves diagonally with a sharp knife. Bake in preheated over until the loaves are golden brown, about 30 minutes. 
  10. Turn out onto a cooling sheet. Slice and serve while warm.
When your filling looks this good, you know you're in for a tasty time.


The experimental part of this recipe was the chocolate and cocoa filling - far less traditional than the simple cinnamon sugar mix. Both turned out deliciously, though I would have added more brown-sugar filling to the traditional loaf. These would make an excellent french toast, and have been great in the mornings with a little butter. The traditional loaf is also great with some Olallieberry jam. (Thanks, mom!)
Kalacs with cocoa filling on the left, and traditional cinnamon sugar filling on the right.

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