Categorized | All Recipes, Sweet

Mini Kurtosh Colac – Kürtös Kalács

Posted on 21 August 2012 by Mădălina

Kürtös Kalács is a traditional Hungarian pastry that is hollow– the pastry is baked on wooden spit, rolled slowly on an open fire until golden brown.

A few years back, my boyfriend and I went traveling to Europe. En route to Romania, we had a 7 hour lay-over in Hungary– instead of taking an uncomfortable nap in the airport concourse, we decided to roam the streets of Budapest. We wandered to the city center, and on that particular Saturday, vendors lined the street selling everything under the sun.My favorite part about any market is the food: the kind that is made on the spot, and more often then not, it’s unusual and delicious.

Enter “Kurtosh Colac” — I believe it’s pronounced something along the lines of keer-toosh-col-ak. Essentially, a Kurtosh Colac (kürtös kalács) is a hollow pastry cooked over an open fire. Roughly translated, it means “chimney cake”, and it is DELICIOUS.

To make these, you wrap a thin strip of pastry around a wooden cylinder, and cooked on an open flame, rotating it as it cooks until golden brown. Once cooked, they’re heavily sprinkled with sugar, cinnamon, walnuts, almonds, or any combination of the four .

This recipe is a cheater’s version. I don’t have access to an open flame, nor the robust wooden cylinders that are traditionally used for this dessert. I used mini hand-crafted wooden cylinders, and a small square metal pan to deep fry these little suckers instead. If you ever come across these at a street fair, I urge you to try them.

Mini Kurtosh Colac (kürtös kalács)
(makes ~ 24 x 7″ (2.5″ dia) colacs)

Sweet Bread Dough:
– 1 tsp white sugar
- 1 pkg (.25oz) Fleischmanns Active Dry Yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/3 cup white sugar
- 1/4 cup butter
- 1 tsp salt
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 4 cups all-purpose flour
+ 4 cups of oil for frying
+ 4 x 2.5″ diameter dowels, tapered at the end with handles
+ square metal pan for frying


1. In a small bowl, mix 1 tsp sugar, yeast and warm water. Allow the yeast slurry to stand for about 10 minutes, or until it turns foamy (as below). If the mixture doesn’t foam, it could be an indication that you’re yeast is no longer active, and your dough won’t rise.

2. In a sauce pan, scald milk over medium heat– once it bubbles, remove it from the stove, and mix in 1/4 cup sugar, 1/4 cup butter, and salt until melted. Allow to cool until luke warm.

Prepare dough, and first rise:

3. In a large bowl, combine yeast slurry, milk mixture, eggs, zest and flour. Using your hook attachment on your stationary mixer, mix on low until combined. Once most of the ingredients appear damp and slightly combined, increase speed and allow to mix for 8 minutes, or until it is smooth and elastic.

4. Once the dough has pulled together, turn it onto a lightly flour-dusted surface, and knead for an additional 2 minutes. Round into a ball, and place in large, lightly oiled bowl. Cover with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place until doubled in volume (about 30 minutes)

Shaping and Second Rise:

5. Remove your dough from the bowl, and return to lightly floured surface. Evenly divide the dough into 6 parts (each roll will make approximately 4 colacs.  Round divided dough into balls and return to greased bowl for the second rise. Cover with a damp cloth, and let it rise in a warm place for an additional 25-30

*Dowels are slightly tapered on one end, with a nail in the center to grip the edges of the square pan. The square baking pan is heated on the stove, and you rotate the dowels as it bakes to create an even golden color. 

Prepare the dowels:

6. Generously grease the dowels with oil.

Roll and Cut Strips:

7. Roll out each dough ball into oblong ovals (5 x wider than tall– think “beaver tail”), and cut out 1″ strips. Beginning from one end, wrap the dough around the dowel on a slight angle, pinching the dough and “tucking it in” when you get to the end.

8. Prepare all of your dowels prior to baking, and fry at 350′F, rotating until golden brown. Remove from oil, and allow to co0l. Once cooled, carefully remove the pastry from the dowel. Brush with a one to one ratio of sugar/water syrup, and roll in sugar or nuts. Serve immediately, or wrap for later.

…Here is a pro making this awesome pastry.


36 Comments For This Post

  1. Jessica Says:

    water mouthering!

  2. Javelin Warrior Says:

    For a “cheaters” version, these look just amazing! I’ll take a whole plate to munch on, please :) I’m featuring this post in today’s Food Fetish Friday (with a link-back and attribution). I hope you have no objections and thanks for the inspiration…

  3. Avanika {Yumsilicious Bakes} Says:

    I ate these while travelling through Europe, I think it was at Prague that I tasted these though. They taste so so good, there were two options – cinnamom sugar or Nutella, obviously I picked the Nutella one!

  4. Louise Samuel Says:

    WOW what great photo’s… If you want to learn more about Kurtoskalacs check out:

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  7. Claudiu Says:

    Dear Madalina,

    From all people commenting here, it looks like we’re the only fools actually trying to follow the recipe, and not only drool at the pics.

    Unfortunately the result was disappointing to say the least.
    First, the quantities were all approximated; when you say 1/4 cup butter, how in the world can one measure a solid using a cup? Not to mention that cups are of various sizes; so better use grams (or ounces as I can see you’re a real American now).

    However, where this recipe really failed miserably is the taste…
    It had nothing to do with the real thing and believe us, we live in Budapest 2 years already. Yours tastes exactly like a bread rolled in a conic shape :)

    Anyway, we’ve been quite mad about wasting our time, ingredients, dish washing liquid, etc. instead of getting out for some real stuff. The good thing is that, now we know we can order at home: we found that 4 pieces delivered at home are only 10 euro ($13.48 for you ;) from one of the best Kurtos companies in here (Vitez Kurtos).

    The bottom line is: we wish people would advise others only about things they really know. Sorry.

    Roxana & Claudiu

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  29. Astheart Says:

    It is called TRDELNÍK in the Czech Republic (in Slovakia too). The origin isn’t Hungarian in fact. It originates in Vallachia, a region in Romania. From the 14th c. Vallachian herdsmen migrated via East Carpathian mountains to Hungaria and Slovakia, and in the 15th century they settled in Moravia, a region in the Czech Republic. They brought “trdelník” with them, :) . By the way, the Czech Republic has got the Registered Trade Mark for it.

  30. Astheart Says:

    Anyway, at home, you can bake them on Coke cans covered with alu foil. You just roll the strips of dough on cans, and put them in your oven in standing position. :)

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  32. Says:

    The pictures look fantastic!
    What a great well written blog.
    I set up my own buisness 6 years ago making and selling Kurtoskalacs or Chimney cake.
    From there I started to design my own ovens as the ones available on the market were not of a high quality.
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  33. mr baker Says:

    Astheart and Madalina,
    you can use any non-toxic heath resistant cylindric thing as you said.
    In Mexico, there is a small sweat bread with this shape, it is normally brushed with a simple syrup some times with little pieces of pecans, and filled with custard cream.
    I do not know it’s origin, but it could probably came when Napoleon III invaded Mexico when the liberal Emperor Maximiliano was invited to govern by the Mexican conservators which where against the liberal and most important president of Mexico in the whole history: Benito Juarez during the half 19th century. (An historical paradox)
    I do not remember the name of that bread, maybe gusano which means worm, but is one that you can always find in bakeries (not all of the hundreds of breads are always found in bakeries). There is also a puff pastry version of it.

  34. mr baker Says:


    You forgot a step, after placing the dough on the cylinder, you should roll it to join the strips and get an uniform thickness.

    I have not seen fried Kurtoscalacs before, they are baked on the fire or an oven. You should love fried donuts, frying it should have a similar taste.

    There are spammers posting in your blog. Please filter them and erase the actual.

  35. mr baker Says:

    Roxana & Claudiu,

    If you cook, you should know that:
    1 cup = 240 ml = 8 oz
    1 tbsp = 15 ml = 1/2 oz
    you can use google to convert just type:
    “convert 1 cup to ml”
    1 oz is not exactly 30ml but the difference is small, so 1 cup is aprox 240ml.

    Do not blame Madalina for your bad results. You were novice when you posted your claims. If you were experienced you should use your criterion when reading a recipe, because there are many variants and the ingredients may be different from batch to batch. Even when they are standardized products like industrial flour.
    You should learn the textures of different doughs, and so on.

    Do not blame Madalina for your bad results, she just enjoyed kurtoscalacs and tried to share it with us. If you live in Budapest, you should be aware that she doesn’t even know the right way to pronounce it.
    You could post a more constructive opinion telling how can she improve her recipe.
    And, please, do not mistreat her just because you hate gringos. That is racism. Americans are of all ideologies, some are chauvinist racists but not all. Just see all the people protesting now against the discriminatory policies of their actual president.

    Madalina loved Hungary and tried to share her experience with us.
    Judge from your experience each individual, do not generalize to stereotypes, that is racism.

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