Kalach (food)

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For other meanings see kalach.
Not to be confused with Kalács.
Lob NARkult 09.JPG
Type Sweet bread
Place of origin Ukraine, Russia, Serbia
Main ingredients Wheat flour
Cookbook:Kalach  Kalach

Kalach, kolach, or colac (Ukrainian: кaлач or колач; Russian: кала́ч; Romanian: colac), is a traditional East Slavic bread, commonly served during various ritual meals.[1] The name originates from the Old Slavonic word kolo (коло) meaning "circle", "wheel".

Ukrainian tradition[edit]

Ukrainian kolachi (plural) are made by braiding dough made with wheat flour into ring-shaped or oblong forms. They are a symbol of luck, prosperity, and good bounty, and are traditionally prepared for Svyat Vechir (Holy Supper), the Ukrainian Christmas Eve ritual, most often in the form of three round bread loaves stacked one atop the other with a candle in the middle.

In the area around Kiev, it was custom for a midwife to give a kalach as a gift to parents, as part of a fertility blessing.[2] Kalaches were also used in funeral ceremonies.[3] As well in Galicia and Bukovina they were given by children to their godparents in ceremony called a кола́чини (kolachyny) or кола́чання (kolachynnya).[4]

Bread dishes such as kalach are highly prized for their artistic craftsmanship. The Bread Museum in L'viv, Ukraine, contains many examples of intricately woven kalach, paska, and babka.[5]

Russian tradition[edit]

Boris Kustodiev. A merchants's wife drinking tea, 1923. A kalach in the form of a kettlebell is depicted as was common in central and northern parts of Russia.

The Russian word калач (kalách, kolach) is the Russian word for a specific type of twisted white bread. In former times калач meant any kind of white bread, and before modern methods of grinding wheat came into use, white bread was classed as a type of fancy bread.

Cultural legacy[edit]

A man who made kalaches was called a калачник (kalachnik), which sometimes by sandhi effect became калашник, and sometimes such a man's descendants thus got the surname Калачник (Kalachnik) or Калашник (Kalashnik), or in Russian Калашников (Kalashnikov) (= "[son] of the kalach-maker").

See also[edit]