Beautifully shaped and scrumptious, Vanocka (pronounced Van-otch-kah)is one of the world's great breads. It is traditionally shaped with a four-star braid, followed with a three-strand braid and topped with a single twist. These directions make it easy, yet the braid is of centerpiece status.
This recipe makes One 2-lb. loaf
|Evaporated milk||1/2 cup|
|Bread Flour||4 cups|
|Lemon rind, grated||2 tsp|
|Active Dry Yeast||1 TBSP|
|Golden raisins||1/3 cup|
|Candied fruit, chopped||1/3 cup|
|Almonds, chopped||1/3 cup|
|Glaze and Topping|
|Almonds, blanched, whole||2 TBSP|
Bread Machine Method
Place room temperature ingredients, except golden raisins, candied fruit and chopped almonds, in pan in order listed. Select DOUGH setting. Do not use delay feature. Check dough consistency after 5 minutes of kneading. The dough should be in a soft, tacky ball. If it is dry and stiff, add water, 1/2 to 1 TBSP at a time. If it is too wet and sticky, add 1 TBSP of flour at a time. See our Bread Machine section for more helpful tips and information. Add golden raisins, candied fruit and chopped almonds 5 minutes before the end of the last kneading cycle. Remove dough from pan. Continue with Shaping, Rising and Baking directions.
Combine yeast, 2 cups flour, lemon rind, salt and sugar in a large bowl. Heat evaporated milk, water and butter to 120°-130°F. Butter does not need to melt. Combine dry mixture and liquids in mixing bowl at low speed. Beat 2 to 3 minutes on medium speed. Add eggs; beat 1 minute. By hand, stir in enough of the remaining flour to make a firm dough. Knead on lightly floured surface 5 to 7 minutes until smooth and elastic. Place dough in lightly oiled dough; turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until dough tests ripe.
Shaping, rising and Baking
Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; punch down to remove air bubbles. Press flat on work surface. Spread candied fruit and raisins across dough. Fold dough; knead in fruits to distribute evenly throughout. Divide into 4 parts. Cover; allow dough to relax 10 minutes. Shape 3 sections into 12-inch ropes. On greased baking sheet, braid loosely from middle of braid to the ends. Pinch ends to seal. Form deep channel in braid by pressing down with side of hand. Combine egg and water for glaze; brush in channel. Divide remaining dough in half. Shape into 10-inch ropes. Twist together; pinch ends to seal. Place in channel on top of braid, pressing down to seat twist onto braid. Cover; let rise in a warm place until indentation remains after touching, about 30 to 45 minutes. Gently brush entire loaf with glaze; sprinkle with whole almonds. Bake in preheated 350°F oven 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown. Cool on rack.
*You can substitute Instant (fast-rising) yeast for Active Dry Yeast. Traditional methods- replace 1:1. Expect your dough to rise faster; always let your dough rise until ‘ripe’. Bread Machines- use 1/2 tsp Instant yeast (or 3/4 tsp Active Dry yeast) per cup of flour in your recipe. Visit our Lessons in Yeast & Baking for more information on baking.