Sunday, December 20, 2015

Vánocka - Czech Christmas Bread | Baking Partners Dec'15

Now that Christmas is just a few days away it makes sense to post the festive bakes one by one. Especially the christmas festive bread. This time Swathi has chosen a Christmas bread from Czech Republic- Vánocka (va-nawtch-kah) for Baking Partners A Simple sugary brioche type bread but rich with eggs. Now thats where my adaption skills work. I had earlier trid brioche without eggs and it had come out fine. So here too I replaced the egg yolks in the recipe with EnerG egg replacer. Now as per Swathi its like a " curry without salt" but still the bread turned out perfect. As usual I halved the recipe and read it below..

All Purpose Flour: 2 cups
Salt: 1/8 tsp
Sugar: 3.25 tbsp
Instant Yeast: 2 tsp
Lemon zest: 1/2 a lemon
Grated Nutmeg: 1/2 tsp

Vanilla :1/2 tsp
Lukewarm milk: 1/2 cup (100ml)
Butter: 4 tbsp melted
Egg Yolk: 1 (1.5 pkd tsp of Ener G + 1 tbsp of water)

Raisins: 1/4 cup
Peeled almonds: 8 tsp

Egg wash: 1 egg + 1 tbsp of water

In a big bowl, mix together flour,salt,sugar, yeast, nutmeg and lemon zest. Add in the vanilla, butter, milk and egg yolk in the well in the middle and start stirring with a spoon mixing into the surrounding flour. Once the dough becomes too stiff for a spoon, begin t knead it with onehand trying to incorporate tje remaining flour. If the dough is too dry/crumbly, add in 2-3  tbsps of milk.

Turn the dough into to a counter and knead for another 10 minutes prying apart the dough with the  lower part of your palms, fold in half and twist and repeat this till you get a smooth soft dough.

Transfer the dough to a lightly greased pan and let it sit in a warm place until it doubles in volume. Meanwhile heat water in a bowl and add raisins. Let it boil until  it plumps up. Drain on a kitchen towel and set aside.

Transfer the dough on to a lightly dusted surface and place the raisins on top if it. Try to incorporate the raisins into the dough while kneading.

Divide the dough into 9 equal parts and roll out each about 15cm long cylinder.Take the first 4 cylinders and lay them next to each other .

Join at one end and then bring the first one at extreme left over the third one. And bring the fourth one at extreme right over the top of second one. Now the earlier frst one has become 4th and the previous 4th has become 1st. Repeat the steps 1 over 3 and 4 over 2 and join the ends to get a beautiful 4 stranded braid, Keep it aside.

Take the next 3 strands and make a three braided dough and keep it aside.

Make a 2 stranded braid with the remaining two.

Place the 4 braided piece on a lined baking sheet and bake a slight depression in the middle so it can hold the other two braids. Place the three braid bread ontop of this followed by the two braided. If there are loose ends try to tuck underneath the entire bread.

Stick almonds on the sides -either sliced or whole peeled. Then stick toothpicks in between so that it doesn't flip during baking.

Preheat the oven to 350F /175C while the dough is resting - which should not be more than 30 mnts. Brush the bread with egg wash  or milk/butter  and bake for about 38-42 minutes making sure the top doesn't brown too much.. in which case cover it with a foil.
 After removing from the oven sprinkle with powdered sugar /glaze and let it cool completely.Slice into pieces and serves.

An excellent raisin bread. The aroma of sugar and raisin definitley gives a festive feel.The original recipe adapted from here and which came from Swathi sugested baking time of 38 minutes, but my eggless version definitely took few extra minutes as I have seen in some of the egg replacer preparations. I suppose this is because the egg replacer powder is made up of different plant based startces which take longer time to cook.

Lets see who all baked Vánocka for Christmas. Hope over to Swathi's


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