Bread is a pretty big deal to Ukrainians and there's a bread for every occasion, with Christmas being no exception.
Kolach is a Ukrainian bread that is traditionally served at Ukrainian Christmas eve dinner, as well as other celebrations like weddings, and anniversaries. And since it's a lot of work to prepare this bread, I have created a Bread Machine Kolach recipe!
Kolach Ukrainian Bread
I have been meaning to turn my traditional Kolach Ukrainian bread recipe into a bread machine version for at least the last 2 years. Unfortunately, I have too many recipe ideas and there is too little time. However, this year I was determined to make it happen! And given that my Bread Maker Babka (shown below) and Bread Maker Paska are so popular, I assumed there would probably be some appetite 🙂 for a bread machine Kolach. Plus, I just love my bread machine; it does the hard labor you! You can check out my Bread Machine Ukrainian bread and all my Bread Machine Bread Recipes HERE!
Bread is regarded as one of the holiest foods to Ukrainians and it's the custom to greet honored guests with bread and salt. A small cake of salt is traditionally inserted into the central opening of the Kolach Ukrainian Bread. Kolach symbolizes good luck, eternity, prosperity and a bountiful life.
Kolach (kolo) is the Ukrainian word for "circle" and the bread is shaped into 3 rings to symbolize the Trinity. Then the 3 round Kolachi are placed, one on top of the other, with a candle inserted into the center of the top loaf. This decorative bread display is an essential part of the Ukrainian Christmas Eve Supper (Svyata Vechera).
Kolach bread is a rich and slightly sweet yeast bread and is made by braiding coils of dough with an opening in the center. The Kolach is used in many traditions such as greeting guests, blessings of wedding, birthdays, Christmas and wedding anniversaries. I use an angel food cake pan to make this bread because there is a natural opening in the center. Although, you could use a round pan or a baking sheet (with a can covered in aluminum foil in the centre -just be sure to spray it with non-stick cooking spray.)
Ukrainian Christmas is celebrated on January 6/7 and special traditional food is a big part of that celebration! You can read more about Ukrainian Christmas and the many traditions that surround it and find the recipes for the 12 meatless Ukrainian Christmas HERE! And if you are celebrating Ukrainian Christmas and plan to make Kolach, then give yourself a break and give this Bread Machine Kolach a try!
Here are my Amazon Bread Machine Recommendations (affiliate links)
Bread Machine Kolach Ukrainian Bread
- 1 egg yolk
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tbsp cooking oil
- ⅔ cup lukewarm water
- ½ tsp salt
- 1 tbsp white granulated sugar
- 2 cups all- purpose flour, sifted
- 1 tsp bread maker yeast
- 1 egg, beaten
- 1 tsp water or milk
Bread Machine Dough
- Beat egg and egg yolk. Add lukewarm water and oil to egg. Beat again, then add to bread machine.
- Add flour, then add sugar along one side of the bread pan and salt along the opposite side. Dig a hole in the middle of the flour and add yeast. * NOTE: This is how the ingredients are added in my bread machine (it's old), but follow your bread machine's directions for order of ingredients, if specified.
- Turn the bread machine setting to "Dough Mode" and press start.
- When dough cycle is complete, remove dough to a lightly floured surface and divide into 2 portions, one slightly larger than the other. *NOTE: You may have to knead in a little more flour than I use, as I live in a very dry climate.
- Spray an angel food cake pan with non-stick cooking spray.
- Divide the larger piece into equal halves, and divide the smaller piece into equal thirds and set aside the smaller pieces (make sure they are covered so they don't dry out).
- Shape each of the larger pieces into a rope about 25 to 30 inches long. (I did mine about 28 inches/71 cm)
- Take the two thick ropes, pinch at one end and cross them in an X shape and twist them together until you reach the end, as you would making a cinnamon twist. Then pinch the other end together.
- Wrap around inside of the bottom of the prepared angel food cake pan in circular motion.
- Take the three smaller ropes and lay them parallel to each other on floured board.
- Starting at one end, pinch together, then braid them together as shown. *See VIDEO in NOTES
- Arrange the braided rope in a ring on top of the circle of twisted dough, matching the seams up, and pinching the ends to seal.
- Preheat oven to 375 degrees (175 degrees C)
- Cover (with tea towel) and place in warm, draft-free spot to rise for 1 hour or until double in size. *I set the bread to rise on the stove top
- Glaze with beaten egg diluted with 1 tsp (5 ml) water or milk. * You will only need ¼ - ⅓ of this, not all of it.
- Bake at 375 degrees (175 degrees C) for 35-40 minutes until lightly and evenly browned in color.
- *Check halfway through the baking process and if it's browned enough on top, (as shown)
- If browned enough, then cover with foil and return to oven for remainder of time.
- Rest in pan for 5 to 10 minutes. Remove gently and cool.
- If you want to make the traditional stacked loaves, then you'll need to make 2 more loaves