Czech braided Christmas bread / Vánočka

Czech christmas bread - vánočka

It wouldn’t be Christmas without Christmas bread. In Czech we call it “vánočka“. I love to eat it on holidays mornings with not a thin layer of butter or butter and jam and a cup of hot cocoa or later in the afternoon with creamy eggnog.

Christmas bread - vánočka

Ingredients (1 kg Christmas bread)

Dough:

  • 500 g flour
  • 110 g butter
  • 80 g sugar
  • 2 egg yolks a 1 whole egg
  • 250 ml milk
  • 25 g yeast
  • lemon juice (half lemon)
  • pinch of salt
  • pinch of nutmeg
  • lemon peel
  • 50 g almonds
  • 50 g raisins

Finishing:

  • 1 egg
  • slices of almond for decoration

Almonds and raisins

You can soak the raisins in rum before preparing the dough.

Let the yeast rise in lukewarm milk with sugar. Gradually add everything else. Everything should be at room temperature, otherwise, the dough doesn’t rise.

If you are mixing dough in a mixer, add raisins and chopped almonds at the end with a wooden spoon, otherwise, they will be shredded.

The right dough doesn’t stick to a bowl, it’s firm and flexible. Dust the dough with flour, cover with a cloth and leave to rise in the heat for 2 hours.

Knitting Christmas brad

Christmas bread can be knitted in various ways, most often made of six strands or three-level of nine. My favorite is the second variant.

Divide the dough into 9 same pieces and roll the same length from them. Knit a braid out of four and put it on a baking sheet. Press it a little by the hand in the middle along the entire length.

Mix the whole egg in the cup and brush the whole braid. Then make knit another braid out of three and put it on the first one. Again, press a little in the middle and brush with the egg.

The last braid made of two just twisted around should be a bit longer – you need to cover both two levels and press it at both ends, ideally as if under them.

Take 3 skewers and pierce them vertically through the Christmas bread at both ends and in the middle to make it more stable.

Let the Christmas bread rise for another half an hour.

Brush the whole Christmas bread with the egg and sprinkle it with almond slices on top.

Bake it in the preheated oven on 160 °C hot air for 30 to 45 minutes, depending on the thickness of Christmas bread.

Don’t eat it right from the oven, wait a sec!

Czech braided Christmas bread / Vánočka
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