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 'a la nature' or with raisins or with chocolate. The following recipe is the way my family has been making Easter egg twists for generations:
4 cups all-purpose flour
1/3 cup sugar
2 large eggs
4 ounces softened butter
1 cup milk
4 teaspoons dry yeast
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 teaspoon salt
grated zest of 1 lemon
1/2 cup raisins
1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tablespoon milk
Before you start making the egg twist, keep all the ingredients at room temperature for an hour. Dissolve the yeast with a teaspoon of sugar in 1 cup of lukewarm milk and let it set. Mix the flour, salt, sugar, butter, yeast mixture, eggs, lemon zest and raisins in a large bowl.
Knead thoroughly, until you get a smooth mixture. Then cover it with a dish cloth 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 into 3 equal pieces, cover it and let it rest for about 10 minutes.
Roll each piece into 3 ropes and make a braid. Cover it once again with a dish cloth and let it rise until it's doubled in size. Heat the oven to 375 F. Brush the braid with the egg yolk and milk mix and bake it for about 50 minutes, until golden brown.
There are many variations of egg twists. Walnuts can be sprinkled on top before baking, chocolate or cinnamon can be added to the dough or it can be made without raisins. They are all delicious.
Bon appétit! (Jó étvágyat!)