Vanocka Bread | Czech Braided Christmas Bread | Eggless Vánočka

Eggless Vanocka | Czech Braided Bread

After two cakes, I am back with my yeast based bread. This time it’s the famous Czech Christmas bread called Vanocka. It’s braided sweet bread with blanched almonds and raisins. As I managed to prepare a decent challah, I thought giving it a try to the multi-layered braided Vanocka.

I stumbled upon this recipe when I was reading about the Russian Rye bread but the original recipe called for eggs. So was a bit skeptical about the egg replacer and that’s when I saw an eggless version in Sapana’s blog. So bookmarked it right away and tried it. I did make quite a few changes. Instead of 4 cups of APF, I used 3 cups of APF + 1 cup of self-rising flour. Also, the original recipe calls for dried cranberries and raisins and also lemon zest. As I ran out both fresh lemon and dried cranberries, I skipped those two ingredients. I did not miss the cranberries, but I bet a tsp of lemon or orange zest would have elevated the flavors for sure. Vaandu was so happy that I did not add any citrus zest. He gobbled this bread up with sugar and jam. (I know weird combo huh?)

Eggless Vanocka | Czech Braided Bread

Coming to braids, I followed this YouTube link for, braiding the four strands. I won’t say I got it perfect. Also, my top layer slid down, but luckily it got attached to the three strands. So I got a unique Vanocka shape. Here is how you layer this bread after the dough is all raised, you divide the dough into nine parts and you make four strand braids, a three strand and a two strand and place one top of other. Also, you cover and bake this bread. I know there is a lot of room for improvement in my braids. But however it tasted great, hence it is here in my blog.    

The recap and the bread recipe,

Eggless Vanocka | Czech Braided Bread

 

Ingredients:

For yeast proofing:

  • Milk – 1.25 cups
  • Active yeast – 3 tsps
  • Sugar – ¼ tsp

For the dough:

  • All Purpose Flour – 3 cups
  • Self – Rising flour – 1 cup
  • Sugar – 3/4 cup
  • Raisins – 1/4 cup
  • Butter – 1/3 cup
  • Salt – 1/2 tsp
  • Oil for greasing.
  • Blanched Almonds – 30

For decoration:

  • Powdered Sugar – as required

Steps:

Blanching Almonds:

  • You can follow the almond blanching process that I mentioned here or here to blanch the almonds.
  • Soak the raisins in water for about 20 to 30 minutes.

Yeast Proofing:

  • In a bowl or measuring mug, add the Luke warm milk and sugar and yeast.
  • Let it sit for 10 minutes.

Preparing the Dough:

  • In a wide bowl add the sifted flour, sugar, salt, butter, and raisins and mix them until it is all combined.
  • Now slowly add the yeast-milk and combine to form a dough.
  • Knead the dough for 10 minutes.
  • Transfer this dough to a wide bowl greased with oil and cover it with a cling wrap and set aside until the dough has doubled in size. It took me about 2 hours this time.

Braiding:

  • Once the dough has raised take it out from the bowl and divide it into nine equal parts.
  • Using the hands roll out each piece into similar sized strands.

  • First, we need to take four strands and braid them and then the three and then two and place the three braids on top of four and two on top of three.

  • For the four braids, I followed this video

  • After this braid the three strands in a regular way and the for the last two twist like below.

  • Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the four strand braid first and then carefully the three braided one and then the two-strand twist.

  • Let this sit for 30 minutes for one more rise.

Baking:

  • Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 Deg F.
  • After 30 minutes, place the blanched almonds either between the braids or on top like below.
  • Brush the bread with milk and cover it with aluminum foil.
  • Bake the bread covered for 40 minutes. (As you can see, my top layer is now along with the second tier)
  • Now remove the foil and bake again for ten more minutes.

Eggless Vanocka | Czech Braided Bread

Let it cool completely and dust it with powdered sugar and slice them.

Notes:

  • The self-rising flour is optional; you can use APF instead.
  • Also please add your favorite dry fruits for this recipe.
  • While baking uncovered, keep an eye on the bread and don’t let it brown too much.

Eggless Vanocka | Czech Braided Bread

 

Vanocka Bread | Czech Braided Christmas Bread | Eggless Vánočka
Eggless Vánočka / Vanocka - The eggless version of the popular Czech braided bread with raisins and almond toppings.
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Prep Time
3 hr
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
3 hr 50 min
Prep Time
3 hr
Cook Time
50 min
Total Time
3 hr 50 min
For yeast proofing
  1. Milk – 1.25 cups
  2. Active yeast – 3 tsps
  3. Sugar – ¼ tsp
For the dough
  1. All Purpose Flour - 3 cups
  2. Self - Rising flour - 1 cup
  3. Sugar - 3/4 cup
  4. Raisins - 1/4 cup
  5. Butter - 1/3 cup
  6. Salt - 1/2 tsp
  7. Oil for greasing.
  8. Blanched Almonds – 30
For decoration
  1. Powdered Sugar – as required
Blanching Almonds
  1. You can follow the almond blanching process that I mentioned here or here to blanch the almonds.
  2. Soak the raisins in water for about 20 to 30 minutes.
Yeast Proofing
  1. In a bowl or measuring mug, add the Luke warm milk and sugar and yeast.
  2. Let it sit for 10 minutes.
Preparing the Dough
  1. In a wide bowl add the sifted flour, sugar, salt, butter, and raisins and mix them until it is all combined.
  2. Now slowly add the yeast-milk and combine to form a dough.
  3. Knead the dough for 10 minutes.
  4. Transfer this dough to wide bowl greased with oil and cover it with a cling wrap and set aside until the dough has doubled in size. It took me about 2 hours this time.
Braiding
  1. Once the dough has raised take it out from the bowl and divide it into nine equal parts.
  2. Using the hands roll out each piece into similar sized strands.
  3. First, we need to take four strands and braid them and then the three and then two and place the three braids on top of four and two on top of three.
  4. For the four braids, I followed this video.
  5. After this braid the three strands in a regular way and the for the last two twist like below.
  6. Line a baking tray with parchment paper and place the four strand braid first and then carefully the three braided one and then the two-strand twist.
  7. Let this sit for 30 minutes for one more rise.
Baking
  1. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350 Deg F.
  2. After 30 minutes, place the blanched almonds either between the braids or on top like below.
  3. Brush the bread with milk and cover it with aluminum foil.
  4. Bake the bread covered for 40 minutes. (As you can see, my top layer is now along with the second tier)
  5. Now remove the foil and bake again for ten more minutes.
  6. Let it cool completely and dust it with powdered sugar and slice them.
Notes
  1. The self-rising flour is optional; you can use APF instead.
  2. Also please add your favorite dry fruits for this recipe.
  3. While baking uncovered, keep an eye on the bread and don’t let it brown too much.
Adapted from Cooking With Sapana
Vidhya’s Vegetarian Kitchen http://www.vidhyashomecooking.com/

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28 thoughts on “Vanocka Bread | Czech Braided Christmas Bread | Eggless Vánočka

  1. Now this bread has made me speechless…I really dont know which adjectives t use..amazing, awesome, fantastic, gorgeous…ha ha..Vidya, you must take a trip to Ahmadabad and teach me these beautiful breads.

  2. Srivalli Jetti

    I almost baked this when I was reading Sapana’s post, but knew I had very less time on hand to bake this elaborate bread..you have really done an awesome job, love how nicely your bread crumb looks

  3. Sowmya:)

    That is such a gorgeous looking Vanocka! I was thinking of baking this one but changed it later. Yours has come s out marvellously. Kudos

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