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Beautifully shaped and scrumptious, Vanocka (pronounced Van-otch-kah) is one of the world's great breads. It is traditionally shaped with a four-strand 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.
Yield 1 loaf



  • 4 cups bread flour, divided
  • 1 tablespoon Red Star Active Dry Yeast
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 1 teaspoon fine salt
  • 2 teaspoon lemon rind (grated)
  • 1/2 cup evaporated milk
  • 1/3 cup water
  • 1/2 cup butter
  • 2 large eggs
  • 1/3 cup candied fruit (chopped)
  • 1/3 cup golden raisins
  • 1/3 cup almonds (chopped)
  • Egg wash: 1 egg plus 1 tablespoon water (whisked together)
  • 2 tablespoons almonds, for topping (blanched, whole)


  • In stand mixer bowl, add 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and lemon rind; mix well. In saucepan or microwave-safe dish, heat evaporated milk, water and butter to 120-130°F (butter does not need to melt). Add to flour mixture. Using a paddle attachment, blend on low speed for 30 seconds; beat on medium speed for 3 minutes. Add eggs; beat 1 minute.
  • Switch to dough hook attachment. Gradually stir in enough remaining flour to make a firm dough. Knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 to 7 minutes.
    (NOTE: For hand mixing: following above steps, mix ingredients in large mixing bowl using a wooden spoon or dough whisk. Knead on floured surface until smooth and elastic.)
  • Place dough in lightly oiled bowl and turn to grease top. Cover; let rise until indentation remains after poking dough with finger down to second knuckle, about 1 hour.
  • Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; punch down to remove air bubbles. Press flat on work surface. Spread candied fruit, raisins and nuts evenly across dough. Fold dough; knead in fruits and nuts to distribute evenly throughout. Divide dough into 4 parts. Cover; allow dough to relax 10 minutes.
  • Shape 3 parts 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 middle of braid by pressing down with side of hand. Brush egg wash in channel. Divide remaining dough piece 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.
  • Preheat oven to 350°F.
  • Gently brush entire loaf with egg wash; sprinkle whole almonds evenly over top. Bake for 40 to 45 minutes until golden brown. Cool on rack.


Get Bread Machine Method here.

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Review & Comments

Anonymous | Reply

5 stars
Awesome recipe! I had great success on my first try. My Grandmother always made this – now I can using my bread maker. The only change I made was to increase the amount of raisins to one cup.

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