Reposted from December 20, 2015. This year Mr. Big Food added cherries. Delicious. Also delicious lightly toasted and complimented by a scrambled egg and coffee.
I am certain I’ve posted the recipe for Mr. Big Food’s vanočka before but it’s worth repeating. This year he substituted chopped dried apricots for the chopped nuts, and added 1 Tbsp spiced rum to the dough before the first rising. Delicious! Merry Christmas!
Mr Big Food says, “This is Bessie Petr’s Vanočka recipe. It’s my favorite and I’ve tried a bunch of them. I’ve made a few minor modifications.”
VANOČKA (CZECH CHRISTMAS BREAD)
1 yeast cake or package dry yeast
¼ C warm water
2 C milk
1/3 C butter
Pinch sugar plus an additional ½ C
1 tsp salt
1 egg, beaten
6 C flour
¾ C chopped pecans
¾ C raisins
1 egg beaten with 1 Tbsp water (to brush loaf)
Dissolve yeast in warm water sprinkled with pinch of sugar. Set aside and let foam. Scald milk, butter, sugar, and salt, and let cool. Put cooled milk mixture in large mixing bowl. Add 1 ½ C flour, followed by foamy yeast and beaten egg. Beat dough until smooth. Cover with towel and let rise in warm place about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk. Turn dough onto floured surface and knead in nuts, raisins, and remaining 4 ½ C flour to make a stiff dough. Knead until elastic. Place dough in greased bowl, turn to coat, cover and let rise again, about 2 hours. Divide risen dough into five portions. Roll each portion into long strand. Braid three strands. Place on greased baking sheet. Braid 2 remaining strands and place on top of bottom braid. Pinch to seal ends. Cover and let rise 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350o. Reseal ends and brush loaf with beaten egg-water mixture. Bake 45 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on rack.