Czech christmas magic: Vanocka / Kouzlo Vanoc: Vanocka Czech christmas vanocka recipe | Czechmatediary

Czech christmas magic: Vanocka / Kouzlo Vanoc: Vanocka

vanocka yahoo image Vanocka ( = “Christmas bread”) has a long history in Czech and Slovakia and without it Christmas is simply just not complete. In the past the Czechs called it pletenice or zemle or ceplik. Before the 18th century it could only be bought at the baker store – people never baked it at home. Since preparing Vanocka wasn’t and isn’t easy, a variety of customs have developed over time to make sure that the baking process is successful. One of those customs, for example, was for the woman to wear a white apron and kerchief while she was cooking so she couldn’t talk, AND she was supposed to jump up and down while the dough was rising (I personally still do that and my Vanocka always comes out perfect; one time I wore an apron that was green and instead of Vanocka I found a baked pig in my oven! So all that to say, please make sure that your apron is WHITE!). Another tradition was (and still is) to bake it with a coin which you insert into a dough prior to baking and whoever finds it in their slice is to be wealthy the following year.

CZ: Jak vsichni vime, bez Vanocky proste nejsou zadne Vanoce. Nagooglovala jsem si jeji historii a predstavte si, ze az do 18. stoleti byla k dostani pouze u pekare! Nikdo si ji “nedovolil” pect doma. Dnes jsou ale jine casy, zeny jsou emancipovane a nejaky ten obtiznejsi recept je preci nezastavi. Tak jdeme na to! Jo, a malem jsem zapomnela; jestlize se bojite toho zapletani copu, nebojte se, je tu YouTube!


  • 6 cups of all-purpose flour
  • 9 Tsp of sugar
  • 4 oz of unsalted butter
  • 1 Tbs of yeast
  • 1 cup of milk
  • 1 yolk
  • a pinch of salt
  • vanilla sugar
  • lemon rind
  • 1 Tsp of nutmeg
  • 3 Tbs of raisins
  • 3 Tbs of sliced almonds
  • 1 whipped egg for the icing

vanocka image /

  1. Crumble the yeast into the room-temperature milk
  2. Add in 1 Tbs of sugar and sprinkle with a about 1 Tbs of flour. Leave it in a warm place to rise.
  3. Put in the rest of the flour, 8 Tbs of sugar, vanilla sugar, salt, lemon rind, nutmeg, egg yolk and mix well.
  4. Add in the softened butter and continue to mix well.
  5. When the dough no longer sticks to the side of the bowl, stir in the raisins and almonds.
  6. Shape the dough in the bowl into a smooth loaf, dust it with flour, and leave it covered in a warm place to rise.
  7. When the dough has risen completely, divide it into 9 parts to make vanocka.
    1. The first layer is weaved from 4 strands
    2. The second from 3 strands
    3. The third form 2 strands
  8. Gradually lay the strands of vanocka on top of each other (4-strand layer on the bottom, 2-strand layer on top) on a greased baking sheet. Leave it for a while on the sheet to finish rising.
  9. Before putting it in the oven, baste it with the whipped egg and sprinkle it with chopped almonds
  10. Finally, puncture the vanocka at both ends and in the middle with skewers to prevent warping of the dough during baking.
  11. Bake slowly (at about 350 degrees) for about 45 minutes.

Here is a Youtube video of how to make the 4-strand layer. Do everything what that person is doing, just don’t curl it into the ball at the end.



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