Vanocka – Traditional Czech Handmade Bread

Vanocka is an old traditional Czech bread, made for centuries in many homes for special occasions. It is a richly flavored sweet bread that is filled with raisins and almonds and topped with a light egg glaze. It has been a popular staple at family gatherings and special events and is a delicious accompaniment to dinner. It is also a great option if you are looking for something to use as a stuffing for a holiday dinner. No matter the occasion, Vanocka is a great way to add a special touch to your meal!

Ingredients used:

For 1 people

  • 1 cup - Margarine
  • 11 cups - Flour
  • 2 cups - Milk
  • 0.67 cup - Sugar
  • 2 teaspoons - Salt
  • 0.5 cup - Warm water
  • 2 packages - Yeast
  • 4 whole - Eggs
  • 1 cup - Yellow raisins
  • 0.5 cup - Chopped almonds
  • 2 teaspoons - Grated lemon rind
  • 0.5 teaspoon - Mace
  • 2 whole - Egg yolks
  • 0.25 cup - Water

Recipe steps:

  • In a large bowl, cut the margarine into the flour until it resembles a coarse meal and set aside.
  • Scald the milk, stir in the sugar and the salt, then cool the mixture to lukewarm.
  • In a large warm bowl, measure the warm (not hot) water and sprinkle or crumble the yeast into the bowl. Stir the yeast until it is dissolved.
  • Stir in the lukewarm milk mixture, the eggs, the raisins, the almonds, the lemon rind, the mace, and half of the flour mixture. Beat the ingredients until they are well blended.
  • Stir in the remaining flour mixture to make a soft dough. Turn the dough onto a lightly floured surface and knead until it is smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.
  • Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning it to grease the top. Cover the bowl and let the dough rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until it has doubled in bulk, about one hour.
  • Punch down the dough and turn it onto a lightly floured surface. Divide the dough into four equal pieces.
  • Divide one of these pieces into four equal strips, each 15 inches long. Place the four strips on a large, greased baking sheet and form them into a braid.
  • Divide a second piece of the dough into five equal parts and form three pieces into a second braid. Place the second braid on top of the first.
  • With the remaining pieces of dough, make a third braid and place it on top of the second braid. Form a second loaf using the rest of the dough.
  • Cover the loaves and let them rise in a warm place, free from drafts, until the dough has doubled, about one hour.
  • Beat the egg yolks and water together until they are blended. Brush the loaves with the egg mixture.
  • Bake in a moderate oven (350°F) until the bread is done.

Vanocka is an incredibly flavorful and aromatic bread. It is a great addition to any holiday dinner, or as a simple and delicious accompaniment to dinner. With its sweet raisins and almonds, and its light egg glaze, this bread will be sure to be a hit. Enjoy!