Kurtoskalacs—Chimney Bread, or Dracula’s Esophagus

Confession, since it’s Sunday: I joined yet another baking community—The Daring Bakers. I admit to my higher power that I have lost control. This club appealed to my wild side, both with its title and the cartoons, a ninja cook and diva singing into a whisk on the website; I could not resist. The first baking challenge was definitely the hardest recipe I have endeavored yet. This is a Transylvanian pastry funneled to look like a chimney. But to me, it looks more like an esophagus. Apparently, Dracula’s Esophagus. Probably won’t make it again because it was an epic time suck, after which I feel as though I should be awarded a Masters in Fine Arts in sculpture or pottery, once I got it to stand up. Might make a nice surprise-edible vase at a dinner party. Come to think of it, this project bears eerie resemblance to some of the Christmas presents I gave out the fall I took the pottery class during my GI block in medical school. Nothing bespeaks peristalsis like making wet, lumpy tubes of clay at the wheel.

chimney cake hollow

Kurtoskalacs—Chimney Bread, or Dracula’s Esophagus

Adapted from Daring Bakers Forum

1 tsp white sugar

1 cup sourdough starter

1/2 cup milk

1/3 cup white sugar

1/4 cup butter

1 tsp salt

2 eggs, beaten

4 cups all-purpose flour

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.

In a large bowl, mix sourdough starter, milk mixture, eggs, and flour. A mixer might be easier, because the dough is very sticky. With sourdough, admittedly the balance of hydration is difficult to get right. My first batch of this was a little too wet and it melted off the pin (see epic fail pics). If this happens, more flour and a little hotter oven might be the answer.

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.

Remove your dough from the bowl, and return to lightly floured surface. Evenly divide the dough into three parts. 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 another hour or so.

Prepare the rolling pins:  chimney cake foil pin

Cover pins in foil, and grease with melted butter. You will also need a metal or glass baking dish to keep the dough on the pin suspended in the oven.

chimney foil butter

Roll out each dough ball into oblong ovals and cut out 1″ strips.

chimney dough coil

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. Trust me, this is a two person job.

chimney dough onto pin

Some people fry these before baking them, so that is an option. I think that is too much butter, so I just brushed the dough on the pin with a one to one ratio of sugar/water syrup, and I rolled it in cinnamon.

chimney cake cinnamonchimney roll in cinnamon


Some people do nuts or other zesty goodies. Then you broil at 400-500 for 15-20 minutes. Watch for slippage. Some people like to baste in butter and more sugar when it comes out. I, of course, am one of those people.

chimney cake on pin

chimney cake tower

Here are a few of photographs of my epic fail when the first chimney melted off the rolling pin into a puddle in the bottom of the pan (still tasted good by the way), so you won’t feel so alone if this happens to you.

chimney cake fail2 chimney cake fail

Also, I have to say, if Dracula’s esophagus happened to be anything like this bread, I am positive he had dysphagia. There are Mallory-Weiss tears in this thing up the wazoo.

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