Grandma's Raisin Bread (Chalka)
Prep time
Cook time
Total time
A Polish traditional Christmas Eve bread, this makes sweet egg bread loaves loaded with raisins.
Recipe type: Bread
Cuisine: Polish
  • ½ cup of butter (one stick), room temperature
  • 1 cup milk, scalded
  • 1 Tablespoon active, dry yeast, reconstituted in ¼ cup warm water and 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 1 cup sugar
  • 3 egg yolks + 1 whole egg, lightly beaten
  • 2 teaspoons vanilla
  • 1½ teaspoons salt
  • 1½ - 2 cups golden raisins, plumped in boiling water, drained, and dried on paper towels
  • 5½ cups all-purpose flour
  1. Put raisins in a small bowl. Cover with boiling water. Let the raisins plump - 10-15 minutes. Pour raisins into a strainer, and then sprinkle over a baking sheet lined with paper towels. Set aside.
  2. In a small saucepan, scald 1 cup of milk. Remove from the heat. Add the butter in pieces to melt quickly. Set aside to cool.
  3. In the bowl of your mixer, stir together 2 cups flour, the milk mixture, and the reconstituted yeast mixture. Stir together to make a sponge. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 15-20 minutes.
  4. Add 1 cup sugar and salt to the eggs and beat until combined. Mix thoroughly.
  5. Add vanilla. Mix thoroughly.
  6. Add 1 cup of flour, and mix.
  7. Using your mixer's dough hook at slow speed, add the remaining flour ½ cup at a time. Watch the dough to make sure you don't add too much flour. The dough should be soft and slightly sticky. Knead for an additional 6-8 minutes. Place the dough in a greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and a kitchen towel. Allow to rise until doubled - 1½ - 2 hours.
  8. Once the dough has doubled, remove to a lightly floured surface. Roll the dough into a rectangle. Sprinkle the raisins on top, and fold into thirds. Begin to knead the dough, until the raisins are evenly disbursed.
  9. Cut the dough in half, and each half into thirds. Roll into equal-sized ropes, and braid the loaf. Repeat with the second half.
  10. Place the braids into well greased loaf pans - mine multiReplace" id="227" data-gr-id="227">were 9"x5". Cover the loaves with a kitchen towel, and allow to rise, until the dough comes to the top of the pans - 1-1½ hours
  11. Preheat the oven to 300 degrees F. Bake for 30-40 minutes, until the top and sides are nicely browned. Remove to cooling racks. After 10 minutes, remove the loaves from the pans, and allow to cool to room temperature.
This recipe makes 2 loaves. Braiding helps to make the loaves pretty, but you can skip this step. Grandma's Raisin Bread makes wonderful toast!
Recipe by At Mimi's Table at