Easter, as most holidays in Hungary, is closely associated with food, and freshly baked Easter bread is one of the delicacies on the holiday menu. The traditional Hungarian Easter bread is egg twist (fonott kalács), which is a yeast-raised sweet bread usually made plain, with raisins or with chocolate. The following recipe is the way my family has been making this speciality bread for generations with my little secrets added to it. This recipe for the Hungarian enriched twist bread is a slightly sweet version.
300 gr flour
70 ml rose or flour water
100 ml milk
15 gr fresh yeast
40 gr butter
65 gr light brown sugar
A pinch of salt, zest of 1 lemon and 1 orange
2 egg yolks
For flavoured versions: mixed dried fruit or nuts or melted chocolate (needs additional flour) or cinnamon
Before you start making the bread, keep all the ingredients at room temperature for an hour. Dissolve the yeast with a teaspoon of sugar in the milk and let it set. Mix the flour, salt, sugar, butter, yeast mixture, eggs, lemon and orange zest in a large bowl. Knead thoroughly, until you get a smooth mixture. Divide it into 2 and flavour by choice. Then cover it with a cloth or cling film and leave it in a warm place and let it rise until it’s doubled in size.
Remove the dough and place it on a floured surface. Divide it each into 3 equal pieces, cover it and let it rest for about 10 minutes. Roll each piece into 3 ropes and make a braid. Apply egg wash and cover it once again and let it rise until it’s doubled in size. Heat the oven to 190C. Brush the braid with the egg yolk and milk mix and bake it for about 40 minutes (depending on the size of the bread), until golden brown.
Walnuts, almonds or decorating sugar can be sprinkled on top prior to baking, glaze can be applied after cooling. They are all delicious.