Vanocka Braid

Here is the recipe:

  • 5 1/2 to 6 cups all-purpose flour (I used whole wheat flour for about half of the flour)
  • 1 Tablespoon Yeast
  • 1 1/4 cups warm water
  • 1/2 cup dry milk
  • 2/3 cups sugar
  • 1/4 cup oil
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 egg white
  • 1/4 teaspoon ground mace (I did not have this and I decided to put in some cinnamon instead)
  • 1 1/2 cups raisins
  • 1 teaspoon finely shredded lemon peel (I used orange peel as that was what I had)
  • 1 beaten egg yolk
  • 1/4 cup sliced almonds

In a large bowl combine 2 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar and dry milk. Next stir in warm water and oil. Then add the eggs, egg white and mace. Beat well. Then stir in raisins, lemon peel and as much of the remaining flour as you can.

On a floured surface, knead in enough of the remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6-8 minutes total). Place in a greased bowl; turn once. cover and let rise in a warm place till double (1 - 1 1/2 hours).

Punch dough down. Put it on a lightly floured surface. divide in half. Cover and let rest 10 minutes. Grease 2 large baking sheets (I would recommend using a stone or a silicone baking sheet). Set half of the dough aside.

To shape , divide the remaining half of dough in half. Cut one of the portions into thirds. Roll each third into an evenly thick 18 inch rope. To braid, line up the 3 ropes, 1 inch apart, on a prepared baking sheet. Starting in the middle, loosely bring left rope underneath center rope; lay it down.Then bring the right rope under the new center rope; lay it down. Repeat to the end. Then on the other end, braid normally by bringing the strands over each other. Fold the braid in half and press the ends together to seal. Stretch braid to a length of 11 inches. Divide the other portion of dough into quarters. Roll three of the pieces into 14 inch ropes. Braid loosely; Press ends together to seal and tuck under. Stretch braid to a length of 9 inches. Brush top of first braid with water to moisten then stack 2 braid on top. Cut remaining dough into thirds. Roll each of them into a 12 inch rope. Braid; press ends together and tuck under. Stretch braid to 7 inches. Brush top of 2nd braid with water and then stack 3rd braid on top.

Repeat the directions for the other half of dough to make a second braid. Cover them and let rise til nearly double.

Brush braids with mixture of beaten egg yolk and 2 teaspoons water. Sprinkly with sliced almonds. Bake in a 350 degree oven for 15 minutes. Then cover loosely with foil and bake 20- 25 minutes more or until it tests done. You can serve this warm or let it cool.

I hope you enjoy!!!