Vanocka - Vánoèka - Czech Christmas Bread

Recipe by Molly53
READY IN: 2hrs 40mins
YIELD: 1 loaf




  • Soften yeast in warm water.
  • In a mixer bowl, beat together sugar, margarine, and salt.
  • Add eggs and beat well.
  • Beat in 1 cup of flour.
  • Beat in milk, lemon peel, mace, and yeast mixture.
  • Stir in as much remaining flour as you can with a spoon.
  • Stir in raisins and nuts.
  • Turn out onto floured surface.
  • Knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately soft dough that is smooth and elastic (3-5 minutes total).
  • Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease surface.
  • Cover, let rise in warm place till double; divide in half.
  • Divide one portion of the dough into fourths for the bottom braid.
  • Cover and let rest 10 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, divide the remaining dough into 5 portions for the other two layers of the dough.
  • Cover those portions and set aside.
  • On a lightly floured surface, form each of the first 4 portions into 16-inch long ropes.
  • On a greased baking sheet, arrange the 4 ropes, 1 inch apart.
  • Beginning in the middle of the ropes, braid together toward each end.
  • To braid 4 ropes, overlap the center 2 ropes to form an X.
  • Take the outside left rope and cross over the closest middle rope.
  • Then, take the outside right rope and cross under the closest middle rope.
  • Repeat braiding until you reach the end.
  • Pinch ends together; tuck under.
  • Turn baking sheet and braid on opposite end.
  • Gently pull width of braid out slightly.
  • Form remaining 5 portions into 16-inch long ropes.
  • Braid 3 of the ropes together.
  • Brush the 4-strand braid with water and center the second braid on top; gently pull width of top braid out.
  • Twist the remaining two ropes of dough together.
  • Brush the top braid with water; place the twist on top of the second braid.
  • Cover the shaped dough and let rise till nearly double.
  • While loaves are rising, preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Brush surface of the shaped dough with egg yolk.
  • Bake in oven for 35-40 minutes.