Makosh (Hungarian Poppy Seed Roll)


Makosh (Mákos Beigli) is a cake-like yeast roll with a poppy seed filling.

Origin: Central Europe

Other names: Germany: mohn kuchen; Hungary: mákos beigli; Poland: .

Kuchen rolls are very popular in central and eastern Europe; they probably originated as a means of transforming some extra bread dough into a special treat for the family. The yeast dough was rolled into a thin rectangle, spread with a sweet filling, and rolled into a cylinder jelly-roll style. The original cake rolls were commonly filled with the most popular medieval central European spice, poppy seeds (mohn in German and mák in Hungarian), and the name of the rolls became simply makosh in Hungary. Hungarians also made a filling from ground walnuts (diós). Poles and Germans generally spread the dough with a thicker layer of filling and let the shaped roll rise to produce thicker cake layers. Hungarians tended to roll out the dough very thin and to not allow it to rise, instead rushing it directly into the oven; the resulting pastry had very thin cake layers alternating with thin layers of filling, akin to the layers in a yeast strudel.

In the early American cookbook Aunt Babette's (Cincinnati, 1889), the German Jewish author included a recipe for "Mohn Kuchen (Poppy Seed)." The first edition of The Settlement Cook Book (Milwaukee, 1901), also by a German Jewish author, included a recipe for "Poppy Seed Roll or Mohn Kuchen."

Enterprising cooks experimented with flavors to produce a host of varieties, in particular cinnamon, almond paste, apricot lekvar, and raspberry. In the late nineteenth century, after chocolate (kahkahaw in Yiddish and kakaó in Hungarian) was introduced from America, it soon became the most popular filling and appropriately the name of this variation of the pastry evolved into kakosh; this pastry is still one of the favorite desserts of Hungarian Jews.

Although central and eastern European Jews have a long tradition of yeast cake rolls, including the Polish babka, none embraced them as enthusiastically as the Hungarians. Many Hungarians serve makosh, kakosh, diós beigli (walnut roll), or one or more of the other variations on every Sabbath and at life-cycle events. In the late twentieth century, some Hungarian Jewish commercial bakeries in America began introducing these rolls to the wider public and chocolate and poppy seed rolls became commonplace at American gourmet shops. From a land renowned for its pastry, makosh and kakosh rank with the best of Hungarian specialties.


Hungarian Poppy Seed Roll (Makosh)

  • 2 large, 3 medium, or 4 small cake rolls


  • 2 packages (4-1/2 teaspoons) active dry yeast or 1 (1-ounce) cake fresh yeast
  • 1/2 cup warm water or milk (105 degrees F to 115 degrees F for dry yeast;
         80 degrees F to 85 degrees F for fresh yeast), or 1/4 cup water and add 1/2 cup sour cream
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 2 large eggs or 3 large egg yolks
  • 3/4 cup (1-1/2 sticks) unsalted butter or margarine, softened
  • 1 teaspoon table salt or 2 teaspoons kosher salt
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (optional)
  • About 4-1/4 cups (22 ounces) bread or unbleached all-purpose flour

Poppy Seed Filling:

  • 3 cups (15 ounces) poppy seeds
  • 1-1/2 cups water
  • 1-1/2 cups honey, or 1-1/4 cups sugar and 1/4 cup honey,
         bor 1 cup honey and 1/3 cup light corn syrup 2 tablespoons fresh lemon juice
  • 1 to 2 teaspoons grated lemon zest (optional)
  • Pinch of salt
  • Egg wash (1 large egg or egg yolk beaten with 1 teaspoon water)

1. To make the dough: Dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in 1 teaspoon sugar and let stand until foamy, 5 to 10 minutes. In a large bowl, combine the yeast mixture, remaining sugar, eggs, butter, salt, and, if using, zest. Gradually add enough Aour to make a soft, sticky dough. (Do not knead.) Cover with plastic-wrap and refrigerate for at least 8 hours or up to 2 days.

2. To make the filling: In a nut grinder, food processor fitted with a metal blade, or blender, grind the poppy seeds. In a medium saucepan, combine the poppy seeds, water, honey, lemon juice, optional zest, and salt. Simmer over medium-low heat, stirring frequently, until the mixture thickens, about 12 minutes. Let cool. Store in the refrigerator for up to I week.

3. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F. Line a large baking sheet with parchment paper or lightly grease the sheet.

4. Punch down the dough. Fold over and press together several times. Divide the dough in half, thirds, or quarters. Roll out each piece into a thin 1/8-inch-thick rectangle; each half will be about 24-by-14 inches; thirds will be about 18- by 14-inches; quarters will be about 14-by-12 inches. Spread with the filling, leaving a 1/2-inch border. Brush the edges with a little egg wash to help seal the cakes. Starting from a long end, roll up jelly-roll style. Place on the prepared baking sheet.

5. Brush the cakes with the egg wash. Prick in several places on the top and sides with the tines of a fork to prevent splitting during baking. Bake without rising until golden brovm, 30 to 45 minutes. Place the baking sheet on a wire rack and let the cakes coolon the sheet.


Kakosh (Hungarian Chocolate Roll): For the filling, combine 1 cup granulated sugar, 1/2 cup confectioners' sugar, 2/3 cup unsweetened cocoa powder, 2 tablespoons melted butter or vegetable oil, 1 teaspoon vanilla extract, and enough water to produce a spreading consistency.

  • from:
    Encyclopedia of Jewish Food
  • by Gil Marks
  • Wiley 2010
  • Hardcover; 672 pages; $40
  • ISBN-10: 0470391308
  • ISBN-13: 978-0-470-39130-3
  • Reprinted by permission.

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