Kalach (food)

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

Kalach (Ukrainian: кaлач; Russian: кала́ч; Romanian: colac), also known in Ukrainian as kolach), 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".

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").

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]

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.[4]

Russian tradition[edit]

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.

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Nokony, Vkka A. (1989). "The Ukrainian Museum of Canada". Material History Bulletin (Spring). 
  2. ^ Boriak, Olena (2010). "The Midwife in Traditional Ukrainian Culture: Ritual, Folklore". Folklorica. 
  3. ^ Havryl’iuk, Natalia (2003). "The Structure and Function of Funeral Rituals and Customs in Ukraine". Folklorica VIII (2). 
  4. ^ http://www.karpaty.info/en/uk/lv/lw/lviv/museums/hliba/