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Polish Braided Bread Recipe (Chałka)

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Perfectly baked Polish braided bread.

Polish braided bread is a specialty of the Polish Jews and is extremely easy to make. It is a great snack to serve at tea time.

Polish braided bread is also known as chalka. The bread is sweet thanks to the crumble on the top. Another popular name for it is Polish challah bread.

This bread is well-loved across the country. Polish challah bread is a specialty among Polish Jews. It is very easy to make and the most time-consuming part of this recipe is waiting for the dough to rise. 

In general, Polish braided bread is a year-round treat. It is however very popular during Christmas and Easter. The dish uses easy-to-find ingredients like flour, yeast, sugar, and butter which makes it a relatively cheap dish to make too. This is another reason why it is so popular.

Served hot off the oven, Polish braided bread pair well with a cup of hot coffee or tea. 

Polish Braided Bread Recipe (Chałka)

Part I – Knead The Dough For 5 Minutes

Add 4 cups of all-purpose flour, 1 ½ tbsp. of instant yeast, ½ tsp of salt and 5 tbsps. of sugar to a large mixing bowl. Mix the ingredients such that they combine with the flour evenly. Add in 1 cup of milk, 3 tbsps. of soft butter and 1 egg yolk to the mixture.

Knead the dough for five minutes. This can be done using your hand or by using a food processor. Kneading the dough for long helps activate the gluten in the dough. This gives the Polish braided bread its characteristic texture.

knead the ingredients for Polish braided bread.

Part II – Cover The Bowl With A Clean Kitchen Cloth

Once you are done kneading the dough, place it in the center of the bowl. Cover it with a clean kitchen cloth and leave it to rise for an hour. The dough should double in size. This usually takes an hour. 

If the dough has not doubled in size, wait a little longer. Place it in a warm place to ensure that the yeast acts faster.

Part III – Divide The Dough Into Half

Divide the dough into half and then divide the halves into three parts. These will form 2 Polish braided bread.  Roll each part into long ropes. 

Make long ropes with the dough.
Make long ropes with the dough.

Part IV – Braid The Polish Braided Bread

To braid the dough, gather three ropes and squeeze them together at the top. Proceed to braid the dough just like you would braid hair. Once you are done, make sure you secure the end by squeezing the ends together.

Braid the dough.
Braid the dough.

Part V – Transfer The Chalka To The Baking Tray

Line a baking tray with parchment paper. Transfer the Polish braided rolls onto the baking tray. Cover the tray with a clean kitchen cloth and leave the dough for 30 minutes. The dough will rise during this time.

Transfer the chalka to a baking pan.
Transfer the chalka to a baking pan.

Part VI – Make The Crumble

Making the crumble is really easy. All you have to do is combine 2 tbsps. of all-purpose flour with 1 tbsp. of butter and 1 tbsp. of sugar.

Part VII – Preheat the oven to 356°F (180°C)

Part VIII – Brush The Chalka With Egg White

Use the remaining egg white to brush the chalka. This will give the Polish braided bread a nice crust. Sprinkle the crumble on top of the dough.

Part IX – Bake For 25 Minutes

Perfectly baked Polish braided bread.
Perfectly baked Polish braided bread.

Polish Braided Bread Recipe Frequently Asked Questions

What Are Other Names For Polish Braided Bread?

There are a couple of different names for Polish braided bread. The most common one is chalka which is its Polish name. It is often also referred to as Polish sweet bread or Polish challah bread.

How Do You Braid Bread?

Braiding bread is very simple. Roll the dough into long ropes. Arrange three ropes next to each other and squeeze the ends together on one side. Now just braid the dough in the same way that you would braid hair. Make sure to secure the ends by pinching them together.

Do You Score Polish Braided Bread?

No. This is one of the breads that you do not score. The braiding of the bread gives it a very interesting texture on the top.

Yield: 10 portions

Polish Braided Bread Recipe (Chałka)

Perfectly baked Polish braided bread.

Polish braided bread is a specialty of the Polish Jews and is extremely easy to make. It is a great snack to serve at tea time.

Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Additional Time 1 hour 35 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 10 minutes

Ingredients

Dough

  • 4 cups (480g) of all-purpose flour
  • 1 cup of milk (or plant-based milk)
  • 1 ½ tbsp of instant yeast
  • 3 tbsps of soft butter
  • ½ tsp of salt
  • 1 egg yolk (egg white will be used to brush chałka)
  • 5 tbsps of sugar

Crumble

  • 2 tbsps of all-purpose flour
  • 1 tbsp of butter
  • 1 tbsp of sugar

Instructions

  1. Knead the dough for about 5 minutes. Do it in a bowl using your hands or use the food processor.
  2. Cover the bowl with a clean kitchen cloth and wait for about an hour for the dough to double its size.
  3. Divide each half into three parts. Roll each part into long ropes.
  4. Gather all 3 ropes and squeeze them together at the top. Then, braid them together just like you are braiding hair (watch my video to see exactly how to do it). Secure by squeezing the bottom ends together.
  5. Transfer chałka to the baking tray lined with parchment paper. Cover with a clean kitchen cloth and wait for another 30 minutes.
  6. Make the crumble by mixing flour with butter and sugar.
  7. Preheat the oven to 356°F (180°C).
  8. Brush chałka with egg white, then sprinkle with the crumble.
  9. Bake for 25 minutes.

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Nutrition Information:

Yield:

10

Serving Size:

1

Amount Per Serving: Calories: 281Total Fat: 6gSaturated Fat: 3gTrans Fat: 0gUnsaturated Fat: 2gCholesterol: 33mgSodium: 167mgCarbohydrates: 49gFiber: 2gSugar: 9gProtein: 7g

These data are indicative and calculated by Nutritionix

 

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