Hello Everyone! I wanted to share one of my favorite Easter recipes with you today! This sweet bread is a traditional Czech treat that's baked year round, but especially for Easter when it's either formed into a braid or shaped into a round loaf like this. It's soft on the inside, filled with plump raisins and sprinkled with crunchy almonds, baked until beautifully golden brown. Everyone has their own version of this recipe, and this is my grandmother's and the one that I grew up eating. A slice of this sweet bread is the perfect afternoon treat or breakfast. And the best part of this recipe - the thick layers of butter and jam that you (need to!) spread on top!
TRADITIONAL CZECH EASTER BREAD
(My grandmother's recipe)
*Makes one loaf*
YOU WILL NEED:
500 g / 4 cups all-purpose flour
70 g / 3/4 cup granulated sugar
1 package instant dry yeast
90 g / 6 1/2 tbs unsalted butter, softened
1/2 tsp salt
1 tsp pure vanilla extract
250 ml / 10 fl oz lukewarm milk
1/4 cup raisins
1/4 cup sliced almonds
1 egg plus one egg yolk
1 tbs water
1. Start by mixing together the package of yeast with the lukewarm milk in a small bowl. Add a pinch of sugar and stir gently, then cover it with a kitchen towel and let it sit for about 5 minutes, until the mixture is frothy. In the meantime, soak your raisins to make them plump (do this by letting them soak in some boiling water or orange juice for a couple of minutes) then drain them and set them aside.
2. In your electric mixer bowl, cream together the softened butter and sugar (this loaf isn't too sweet so add in more sugar if you prefer extra sweetness). Add in the egg yolk, salt and vanilla extract and mix until you have a smooth, creamy mixture. Then, add in the yeast mixture and mix again. Sift in the flour in three portions and add in the drained raisins at the end. Mix with the dough hook attachment for about a minute, until a soft dough forms. Place the dough in a large, greased bowl, cover it and let it rise in a warm spot for at least an hour, or until it has doubled in size.
3. Once the dough has risen, take it out and shape it into a ball, smoothing out the surface. Place it on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and cover it with a kitchen towel. In the meantime, preheat your oven to 350 deg F and make your egg wash by whisking together an egg with about a tablespoon of water. Take off the kitchen towel and brush the loaf with the egg wash and sprinkle it generously with the sliced almonds. Bake for 45 - 55 minutes, until the loaf is golden brown and an inserted toothpick comes out clean. If the loaf begins to brown too much, just cover it with some foil to prevent it from burning. Let cool, then slice and spread (generously!) with butter and your favorite jam! (*Note: my grandmother's original recipe is in metric measurements which I usually try to follow, I have inserted approximate cup/oz measurements for this recipe).
For more of my family recipes, check out THESE Heart Shaped Linzer Cookies or THIS Classic Apple Strudel Recipe!
Happy Baking, Everyone!