The name kulcha (külçə) probably shares a root with the bread known as kulcha, popular in India and Pakistan. Two different types of kulcha are found in Azerbaijan: round kulcha with a filling, which come from the southern town of Lankaran (Lənkəran), the recipe for which is given here, and the spicier kulcha from the northwestern town of Shaki (Şəki).
Preparation time: 30 min
Cooking time: 50 min
- For the pastry:
- 450 g/1 lb 2 oz plain flour
- 10 g/ 1/3 oz fresh yeast
- 75 g/3 oz sugar
- 1 egg
- 25 g/1 oz sour cream
- 50 g/2 oz butter
- For the filling:
- 200 g/8 oz plain flour
- 100 g/4 oz granulated sugar
- 100 g/4 oz butter
- a few threads of saffron
- Take the butter out of the fridge to allow it time to reach room temperature.
- Put the threads of saffron into a cup and add 1 to 2 tablespoons of boiling water. Cover and leave to infuse.
- Sieve the flour onto a large board or into a large bowl and make a hole in the centre. Put the yeast, egg, soft butter, sugar and salt into the hole and gradually fold in the flour from the outside.
- Knead well until the dough is smooth and soft.
- Cover with a clean teacloth and leave in a warm place to rise for 60 to 90 minutes.
- For the filling, cream the sugar and butter. Add the saffron infusion and the flour and mix well. The filling should be crumbly.
- When the dough has risen, knead it again and roll it out several times.
- Divide the dough into balls of around 75 g/3 oz. On a floured surface roll out each ball into a rectangle, 1 cm/0.4 inch thick.
- Put a spoonful of stuffing in the centre of each rectangle. Fold the corners to the centre and then fold in the edges, shaping the kulcha into a round.
- Leave to rest for 40 minutes.
- Coat the surface of the kulcha with beaten egg and sprinkle poppy seeds on top.
- Bake in an oven preheated to 180C/350F/Gas 4 for 20-25 minutes.