Vanochka, Czech Christmas Bread Recipe

Vanochka (Vánočka) is a braided Czech Christmas bread.

Although they have it in Slovakia too, as it used to be the same country. But where ever it came from, it is a deliciously sweet and fragrant loaf of bread filled with raisins and flavoured with citrus.

Watch the video down below for detailed instructions.


250g (8.8oz) strong white bread flour

1 egg yolk

3g (0.1oz) dry yeast or 3x the amount of fresh yeast

4g (0.15oz) salt

1 lemon worth of zest

50g (1.75oz) soft butter

80g (2.8oz) raisins (I used half brown and half golden)

30g (1oz) sugar

120g (4.25oz) cold milk

To learn more about dough temperature control click here.


1 egg & sliced almonds to top

Icing sugar for dusting


  1. In a bowl combine the milk, salt, yeast, sugar, lemon zest & egg yolk. Mix well to dissolve the sugar and hydrate the yeast.
  2. Add the flour and mix to a dough.
  3. Knead for 2 minutes, then tear in the butter. Keep kneading for 3 minutes, then add the raisins and knead for another 1-2 minutes. Desired dough temperature 25-26C (77-79F).
  4. Cover and proof for 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  5. Fold.
  6. Ferment for another 45 minutes to 1 hour.
  7. Divide into 3x110g (3.9oz) & 3x70g (2.5oz) pieces. Preshape into cylinders.
  8. Rest for 30 minutes.
  1. Roll out all the dough pieces and make 2 three strand braids. One with the smaller dough and the other with the larger one. Place the smaller one on top of the larger one. *See video!
  2. Cover and proof for 1 – 1.5 hours. During this time preheat your oven to 160C (320F) fan on.
  3. Brush the loaf with egg, let it dry for 5 minutes, then brush again. Sprinkle with the sliced almonds.
  4. Bake for around 35 – 40 minutes.

Let it cool down, dust with icing sugar, and enjoy!


Watch the video here

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