Traditional Czechoslovakian Christmas Bread. Serve with butter. Some people toast it, use jelly, or even butter and powdered sugar...depending upon local customs and family preference. It is a day-long project, but well worth the effort.

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Recipe Summary

prep:
1 hr
cook:
45 mins
additional:
3 hrs 45 mins
total:
5 hrs 30 mins
Servings:
30
Yield:
2 large loaves
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Ingredients

30
Original recipe yields 30 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • Dissolve yeast in warm water.

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  • In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter. Add beaten egg and salt. Stir in cooled milk and then the yeast. Add 1 1/2 cups sifted flour; beat into a smooth batter. Cover and let rise until light, about one hour.

  • Stir spices and dried orange zest into the sponge. Add 4 1/2 cups of flour to make a soft dough. Place on a lightly floured board, and knead until smooth and elastic. Knead in raisins and candied peel. Put in a well oiled bowl, and turn once to coat the surface of the dough. Cover. Set aside to rise until double in bulk, about 2 hours.

  • Divide dough into ten parts, roll into desired lengths, and let rise about 15 minutes.

  • On a heavily greased baking sheet, make a braid of three parts, beginning in the center and working braid loosely toward each end. Pinch ends together. Twist the remaining two pieces together, and place on the base of the braid. In a small bowl, beat together egg yolk and milk; brush the loaf with this mixture. Sprinkle sliced almonds over the loaf. Repeat process for second loaf. Let rise about 45 minutes.

  • Bake at 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) for 45 minutes. Transfer bread to a wire rack, and cool completely. Cover while cooling with a tea towel to make a soft crust. Sprinkle with confectioners' sugar.

Nutrition Facts

177 calories; protein 4g; carbohydrates 29.4g; fat 4.9g; cholesterol 22.3mg; sodium 110mg. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (12)

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Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
07/27/2003
jUST GREAT Read More
(25)
21 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 16
  • 4 star values: 5
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 0
Rating: 4 stars
07/26/2003
jUST GREAT Read More
(25)
Rating: 4 stars
10/29/2005
I haven't made this version yet because I use my own family's recipe but this is truly a great bread. The braided shape is quite pretty and I've always gotten compliments when I've shared loaves with others. I wouldn't reduce the size of the recipe either. It takes a good amount of time you'll be happy to have made two loaves. Read More
(20)
Rating: 5 stars
12/21/2009
it took a long time to make this bread. No joke when they say an all day affair but it was worth EVERY minute. Not only was it amazingly delicious it was beautiful! Of course I adjusted the spices to suit my family's tastes but other than that...PERFECT!!! Read More
(13)
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Rating: 4 stars
02/17/2010
Hi I am Czech and we caled it "VÁNOCKA" (Christmas houska). I really like it. Read More
(10)
Rating: 5 stars
12/10/2007
This is delicious! My husband who does not care for cakes without cream at all annihilated half of it. This cake would be one of my regular festive (and non-festive as well) cakes. Read More
(10)
Rating: 5 stars
08/04/2010
I wish I could give it 10 stars. Too good.....I used half whole wheat flour. Read More
(8)
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Rating: 5 stars
04/15/2006
Very nice and moist - as good as the one Mom used to make. Read More
(8)
Rating: 5 stars
12/23/2011
This makes two large delicious Christmas bread loaves. Great recipe and authentic! Thank you for sharing. Read More
(3)
Rating: 5 stars
06/15/2013
A delicious bread. I had to substitute nutmeg for the mace because I could not find it at the time I was making the bread. I will definitely make again this coming Christmas. Read More
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