Lob NARkult 09

Russian kalach.

Kalach, kalács, kolak or colac (also beigli, sometimes spelled bejgli[1]) is a nut roll, a pastry consisting of a roll of sweet yeast bread (a viennoiserie) with a dense, rich, bittersweet filling. The filling is a paste of either walnuts or poppy seeds. The pastry is traditional in several Eastern European cuisines and is eaten during the Christmas and Easter holidays.

It originated in Armenian cuisine.

Alternative names

In Austria poppy seed rolls are also called Mond Kuchen or Mohnstriezel. The German name derives from the word moon, indicating that the poppy was dedicated to the Moon goddess,[1] the goddess of the night and sleep, since the seed pods contain opium .


The dough is made of flour, sugar, egg yolk, milk or sour cream and butter, and yeast.[2] The dough may be flavored with lemon or orange zest or rum. The poppy seed filling[3] contains ground poppy seeds, raisins, butter or milk, sugar or honey, rum and vanilla. Sometimes sugar is substituted for a tablespoon of apricot jam, which is one of the most popular jams used in Hungarian cuisine. The walnut roll filling contains raisins, rum, butter or milk, lemon rind and chopped walnuts. This filling may be spiced with cinnamon, nutmeg, clove or vanilla.[4]

The dough is at first quite heavy, stiff and dry, but with kneading and resting becomes very elastic and strong. It is rolled out into a large sheet, thick or thin depending on taste. One aesthetic principle is that the dough and filling layers should be equal thicknesses. Another is that more layers are better. The filling is spread over the dough, which is then rolled into a long cylinder or log. Traditional recipes usually involve brushing the log with the egg white left over from the yolk used in the dough. Other recipes use different washes, or an icing added after baking. The unbaked log is gently transferred to a sheet pan, left to rise, then baked until golden brown.

Christmas traditions

There are not many Hungarian Christmas sweets and pastries. In general no other pastries are served, apart from the traditional candy szaloncukor, large amounts of wrapped decorative fondant candies hung on the Christmas tree as decorations, also consumed during the Christmas holidays. All Hungarian families serve both the walnut and the poppy seed rolls, often accompanied with fruit wines, like redcurrant wine. Hungarian Christmas traditions do not include other traditional Christmas pastries like Christmas pudding, Christmas cake, chocolate yule log, apple pie or mince pie.


Stamps of Ukraine, 2013-30

Kalach on a 2013 Ukrainian postage stamp.

The poppy seed filling is a paste of ground poppy seeds, milk, butter, sugar and/or honey, often with additional flavorings such as lemon zest and juice.[2] It may have raisins.[5]

The walnut filling is a paste of ground walnuts, milk, butter, sugar, and raisins, often with additional flavorings such as coffee or orange zest.[2]

A very long roll may be bent so that it fits on a baking sheet; the result is called a patkó (Hungarian for "horseshoe").

Before baking, the roll may be given a wash of milk. The roll can be finished with a glaze made of powdered sugar and lemon juice. Usually it is brought from the kitchen already sliced.

In Hungarian cuisine the two rolls, one with each filling, are served together. The combination is known as mákos es diós (poppy seed and walnut) kalács. However, in some English language cookbooks there may be no mention of the walnut filling, as if poppy seed were the only filling used.[6] The food writer Bernard Clayton offers a recipe for mákos es diós kalács (with the translation Hungarian Christmas bread), but the recipe includes only the poppy seed filling.[5] Some other food writers combine the poppy seeds and walnuts together in one filling.[7] The poppy seed roll by itself is traditional in several cuisines. These include Polish cuisine (makowiec), Lithuanian cuisine (aguonų vyniotinis), and Croatian cuisine (makovnjača).


  1. 1.0 1.1 June Meyers Authentic Hungarian Heirloom Recipes Cookbook
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 Dorcas Guild of the Magyar United Church of Christ, ed (1960). Hungarian recipes. Elyria, Ohio. pp. 44. 
  3. Mákos bejgli
  4. Diós és Mákos bejgli with picture
  5. 5.0 5.1 Clayton, Bernard (2003). Bernard Clayton's New Complete Book of Breads (30 ed.). Simon and Schuster. p. 308–310. ISBN 0743234723. 
  6. Beth Hensperger (2001). Bread for Breakfast. Ten Speed Press. pp. 81–83. ISBN 1580082130. 
  7. Evelyn Birge Vitz (1985). A Continual Feast: A Cookbook to Celebrate the Joys of Family and Faith Throughout the Christian Year (1991 reprint ed.). Ignatius Press. pp. 138–139. ISBN 0898703840. 

External links

This page uses content from the English Wikipedia. The original article was at Kalach (food). The list of authors can be seen in the page history.

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