How to Make Ukrainian Kolach

Kolach can be braided or decorated with seeds, making the ideal centerpiece to the table. Have a read on how you can make this Ukrainian bread at home.
Author Headshot
Tom Charman
Dec 19
2 mins
Dec 19
2 mins

This bread has traditions across a host of Slavic countries, from Belarus all the way down to Moldova. Each country makes their bread slightly differently, but all are in agreement that no special occasion would be complete without a homemade kolach. In Ukraine, this rich, yeast-leavened dough is braided or twisted into a circular shape, and is often decorated with intricate patterns and symbols that have a symbolic meaning in Ukrainian culture. Each kolach represents a symbol of luck, prosperity and good bounty, and like borscht, pampushky, varenyky and holubtsi, it’s a bread that’s traditionally prepared and enjoyed as part of the Christmas Eve supper. In fact, for Christmas, traditionally three kolach of different sizes are stacked together to represent the trinity, with the circular shape symbolizing eternity, and a candle placed in the middle. And the bread itself is fluffy, light, and closely resembles an Ashkenazi challah bread.

To create your own kolach for Christmas supper this year, these are the ingredients that you’ll need:

  • 2 and a half cups (300g) of all purpose flour
  • 1.5 tablespoons (20g) of active dried yeast
  • 0.25 cups (40g) of butter
  • 0.25 cups (60g) of granulated sugar
  • 4 egg yolks
  • 1 cup (250ml) of warm milk
  • Salt to taste

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And of course, this is how you turn those ingredients into your very own kolach:

  1. Melt the butter and set to one side.
  2. In a large bowl, combine the yeast and warm milk, and then add the flour, sugar, 3 egg yolks and salt to taste.
  3. Add the melted butter to the bowl and mix everything together. Stir until the dough comes together, then turn it out onto a floured surface and knead for about 8-10 minutes.
  4. Cover the dough with a damp cloth, and let it sit in a warm place for 1-2 hours or until it’s doubled in size.
  5. When it’s risen, knead the dough again, split it into several parts, and recover with a damp cloth for a further 1 hour.
  6. Uncover your dough, and divide it into long strips, and braid them together as you would a challah bread, creating a circular shape that connects at each ends.
  7. Brush the dough with a beaten egg yolk and bake for 20-25 minutes at 390 degrees Fahrenheit (200 degrees celsius) (or until golden row). Enjoy!
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