Vánočka – Czech Christmas Sweetbread

Posted by Pussycat in Sweets | Leave a comment

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I know that it’s a been quite a while since I’ve tended to my blog.  It’s been a very busy November, my final class of my second degree is finally, finally completed.  I uploaded my last assignment on the 27th.  Whew…. needless to say that November was filled with papers, groups projects and facilitating a seminar.  Though I got to work with some great women in this class I’m not sorry that it’s over… and just in time to get started on my Christmas baking!

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We’ll start this off with my most favourite sweet bread in the world…Vánočka… it’s kinda like Challa and egg bread and fruit bread all rolled into one.  Though these days I’m really trying to be good I have certainly been known to eat a whole loaf… one glorious slice after one glorious slice… just walking back and forth. I barely make it to the couch …. I have to go back for another… I swear… it doesn’t just call to me but more like SCREAMS at me!  At least until I eat the whole damn thing.

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I’m hoping to freeze one loaf (I made two) and pull it out closer to Christmas … as a treat… you know after I’ve already eaten a whole one… oh who am I kidding… for sure I’ll be making another two before Christmas.  Half of one is already gone!

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  • 1 kg of flour
  • 200 grams powdered sugar
  • 240 grams butter (melted)
  • 2 packages of dry yeast (or 50 grams fresh)
  • 2-3 eggs
  • grate of 1 or 2 lemons
  • As much milk as you need (okay… about a cup)
  • 150 grams almonds
  • 150 grams raisons
  • 150 grams cranberries
  • 150 grams dried apricots
  • 1 egg for egg wash

Put aside a bowl with warm milk and a spoon of sugar and the yeast, allow it to bloom.  In the meantime mix all dry ingredients and place in a stand mixer with a hook attachment.  Once the yeast has bloomed add the wet ingredients (including the yeast) slowly incorporating them into the mixer allowing the mixer to develop a ball of dough.  Keep adding wet ingredients until you have a nice dough.  Let the mixer knead the dough for about 15 minutes (on medium speed) until the it just slightly starts to pull off the side of the bowl.  Then knead on the counter (by hand) to incorporate all the fruit and nuts.

Cut dough in half as this amount makes 2 loaves.  From each half cut into 9 pieces so that you can braid, a four strand, then a three strand and last a two strand all stacked on top of each other. Brush with egg wash in between the layers to help them stay together and brush the whole of the loaf with the egg wash before putting into the oven.

Bake at 350 for about a half hour or until golden.  You may need to cover it with foil as the top may burn before it’s done baking.

Slice and enjoy… oh yeah… maybe butter?  If you can be bothered.


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