Original Czech Christmas Bread Recipe

I remember my grandma making this special bread every Christmas – and we had it for breakfast on Christmas morning. Smothered with butter and homemade strawberry jam – yummy stuff! It takes a little time to make it, but believe me – it’s well worth the effort!

Ingredients

  • 1 teaspoon of yeast
  • 1/4 cup of warm water (110 degrees F/45 degrees C)
  • 1/2 cup of white sugar
  • 1/2 cup of butter
  • 1 egg, beaten
  • 1 teaspoon of salt
  • 2 cups of scalded milk
  • 6 cups of flour
  • 1 pinch of ground ginger
  • 1 pinch of ground mace
  • ½ teaspoon of dried orange zest
  • 1/2 cup of golden raisins
  • 1/2 cup of candied mixed fruit peel
  • 1/2 cup of blanched slivered almonds
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 tablespoon of milk
  • 2 tablespoons of confectioners’ sugar

Directions

  1. Dissolve yeast in warm water.
  2. In a large bowl, cream sugar and butter.
  3. Add beaten egg and salt.
  4. Stir in cooled milk, and then the yeast. Add 2 cups sifted flour; beat to smooth batter.
  5. Cover and let rise until light, about one hour.
  6. Stir spices and dried orange zest into the sponge.
  7. Add 4 cups of flour to make a soft dough. (Add more if you dough is too sticky)
  8. Place on a lightly floured board, and knead until smooth and elastic.
  9. Knead in raisins and candied peel.
  10. Put in a well oiled bowl, and turn once to coat the surface of the dough.
  11. Cover. Set aside to rise until double in bulk, about 2 hours.
  12. Divide dough into ten parts, roll into desired lengths, and let rise about 15 minutes.
  13. On a heavily greased baking sheet, make a braid of three parts, beginning in the center and working braid loosely toward each end. Pinch ends together. Repeat. Twist two pieces together, and place on the base of the braid and repeat with the remaining two pieces.
  14. In a small bowl, beat together egg yolk and milk; brush the loaf with this mixture.
  15. Sprinkle sliced almonds over the loaf.
  16.  Let rise about 45 minutes.
  17. Bake at 350 degrees F for 45 minutes.
  18. Transfer bread to a wire rack, and cool completely.
  19. Cover while cooling with a tea towel to make a soft crust.
  20. Sprinkle with confectioners’ sugar.

Hope you will enjoy this holiday treat – please send in your comments and suggestions, your input is very much welcomed and appreciated!

 

About the author

Hanna Trafford

Hanna is the mother of two grown sons Dan and Dusan Nedelko, step mother to Abbie Gateman and is also a brand new Grandmother. She is the lead editor of Mama Knows and is hoping to create an exchange of communications with other grandmothers, mothers and daughters - giving everyone the opportunity to learn and share about everything that is "Mama"

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