Ukrainian Christmas Bread Kolach


  • 7g active dry yeast
  • 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 80ml lukewarm water
  • 3 large room-temperature eggs
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 2 tablespoons oil
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 120ml lukewarm water
  • 560g all-purpose flour
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water for glaze


  1. In a small bowl, mix yeast, 1 teaspoon sugar and 1/3 cup lukewarm water. Let stand 15 minutes or until bubbly.
  2. In a large bowl or a stand mixer, beat 3 eggs until thick. Beat in the yeast mixture, 2 tablespoons sugar, oil and salt.
  3. Then add the 1/2 cup lukewarm water and mix until fully incorporated.
  4. Add 2 cups flour and mix well. Add remaining 2 cups flour and knead until dough is smooth and blistered.
  5. Place dough in a greased bowl. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour or until doubled.
  6. Punch down dough and let rise again until doubled. Knead by hand a few times and then turn out onto a lightly floured board
  7. Divide the dough into three equal pieces and braid. Shape into an oblong loaf and place on a parchment-lined pan. Or shape into a circle, joining the ends, and place in a greased 10-inch tube pan.
  8. Cover with greased plastic wrap and let rise in a warm place until almost doubled.
  9. Heat oven to 350 F. Bake 50 to 60 minutes or until instant-read thermometer registers 180 degrees.
  10. Brush bread with 1 egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water the last 5 minutes of baking or until instant-read thermometer registers 190 degrees.
  11. Remove from oven and turn out of pans to cool completely on a wire rack.

Note: This recipe will make either 1 braided oblong loaf or 1 braided round loaf. To make three round braided loaves that are stacked on top of each other, triple the recipe. The three loaves should be baked in 3 tube pans of decreasing size, 12-inch, 10-inch and 8-inch would be perfect.