Last Updated on April 7, 2009 by Hanna Trafford
Here is a recipe straight from my granma’s cookbook. It comes from the Czech republic and I remember well that it was a tradition to have this bread for breakfast on Easter Sunday. In czech – it is called mazanec – freshly baked, cooled just to almost room temperature, well buttered and covered with homemade strawberry jam….. Memories and traditions – keep them in your kitchen and you will never regret it!
Homemade Easter Bread
2 pkgs. of active dry yeast
1 cup of lukewarm water
2 teaspoons of sugar
1 cup of milk
1/4 cup of butter
1/2 cup of sugar
1 teaspoon of salt
6 cups of flour
2 eggs, beaten
1 teaspoon of grated lemon rind
1 cup of raisins
Sprinkle yeast into lukewarm water, add 2 tablespoons of sugar and let stand for about 10 minutes and stir. Scald milk, add butter, sugar and salt. Cool to lukewarm and softened yeast; mix together. Add half the flour to make a thick batter and beat well. Add eggs, lemon rind and raisins and beat well again. Stir in remaining flour, using just enough to make a soft dough that will not stick to hands ot bowl. Turn out on lightly floured board or countertop and knead until smooth and satiny. That will take about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl and turn dough over to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double in size about 1-1/2 hours. Punch down and knead lightly again,
Form round loaves from the dough, how many will depend on how big you want to make them – lay on a greased baking tray or a tray covered with baking paper, coat the loaves with whisked egg. You can also at this point sprinkle them with slivered almonds or chopped nuts. Leave to dry, then, with a sharp knife, cut a cross through the middle of the top of the loaf. Let rise again until the loaves are double in size. Bake slowly at 375F in the middle of the oven for 45 – 60 minutes. Sprinkle with icing sugar.
Bohemian Braid alternative:
To shape this alternative bread, divide half of the dough into 9 portions. Roll each portion inot a long roll. Braid 4 rolls loosely and place on a greased baking sheet. Then braid 3 rolls and place them on the top of the first braid. Twist last 2 posrtions together and place on top. Repeat with second portion of dough ot use it for another bread variation. Brfush with beaten egg and sprinkle slivered almonds or chopped nuts on the top. Cover and let rise in warm place until double in bulk. Bake at 375 F for 40 -45 minutes.