I bring you a very traditional braided bread in countries like the Czech Republic or Slovakia. Its name is vianočka and it is a soft sweet bread with a delicious vanilla touch . Its name comes from the word vianoce, which means Christmas, and the braid originally represented baby Jesus wrapped in his blanket. But nowadays it is not only done at Christmas, but is enjoyed throughout the year. The reason is very simple: it is so good that it would be a shame to eat it alone during such a short time of the year!

Are Vianočka and Challah the same thing?

When you see this bread, you have surely thought of the popular Jewish challah bread (challah), is that right? Well, the truth is that vianočka bread has nothing to do with it, except for the beautiful shape of a braided bread.

This bread today, vianočka, Unlike challah, it is made with butter instead of oil, milk instead of water, and quite a bit more sugar. Vanilla essence and lemon zest are also added. The result is a sweet bread, soft and light like a cloud , that melts in your mouth and disappears at the speed of light.

Bring it to the table for breakfast or as a snack, alone or with a little butter and seasonal fruit, with chocolate or jam. It always disappears very quickly.

Try the recipe and you will see that it will become your favorite breakfast.

Emile Henry Artisanal Bread Oven and Revol NO.W Mug


For preferment

  • 150 g strong flour
  • 150 g warm milk
  • 2 g dry yeast

For the mass

  • The preferment
  • 600 g strong flour
  • 225 g warm milk
  • 110 g butter at room temperature
  • 110 g sugar
  • 7 g dry yeast
  • 3 egg yolks L
  • 1 tablespoon vanilla essence
  • Grated peel of 1 lemon

To decorate

  • 1 beaten egg to brush
  • Laminated almonds


1) Prepare the preferment:

  1. In a large glass jar, mix the strong flour with the yeast.
  2. Add the milk and mix well until you obtain a homogeneous consistency.
  3. Place the lid on top of the glass jar, but do not close it completely, and store it in the refrigerator for approximately 12 hours, ideally overnight. It should double the volume, but if it hasn't doubled the next day, continue with the recipe anyway.

Prepare the dough:

  1. Approximately one hour before preparing the dough, take the preferment out of the refrigerator so that it can warm. Do the same with the eggs and butter.
  2. Sift the flour into a bowl and pour the dry yeast on top. Mix with a spoon.
  3. Add the sugar and lemon zest and mix again.
  4. Add the milk, egg yolks, vanilla essence and butter and mix gently with your hands.
  5. At the end, add the preferment and mix with your hands until the flour begins to absorb all the liquids well.
  6. Pour the dough onto a counter and knead for 15 minutes with French kneading. You can also knead with the KitchenAid robot , with the hook accessory.
  7. Form a ball from the dough and keep it in the bowl. Cover the bowl with a cotton cloth and let it rest at room temperature until the dough doubles in volume, approximately 3 hours.

3) Form the Vianočka

  1. Once the dough has doubled in volume, remove the gas by pressing on it with your knuckles and knead it gently again on the counter, very lightly sprinkled with flour.
  2. Separate the dough into 6 equal pieces and form each piece into a ball.
  3. Let the balls rest for 10 minutes so that the gluten relaxes, covered with a cloth so that they do not dry out.
  4. Meanwhile, you can prepare the base of the Emile Henry mold and spread it with a little butter. Spread the edges well too, so that the dough doesn't stick to you once it rises in the oven.
  5. The lid of the mold, let it heat in the oven at 50 °C.
  6. Form each ball into a churro, approximately 45 centimeters long.
7. Gather all the churros completely on one end (as in the photo).
8. To form the braid, we divide the churros into 3 left ones (I) and 3 right ones (R) and we are going to call them, from left to right, I1, I2, I3, D3, D2 and D1.

The procedure to make the braid is as follows:
I1 => D1 (that is, we move the churro I1 to the far right and it becomes D1).

D2 => I1 (the second churro that you now have on the right, you move it to the one on the left)
D1 => D3
I2 => D1
I1 => I3
D2 => I1
The last 4 steps (in bold) are repeated in a loop until the churros are finished.

9. When you finish the entire length of the churros, put them together again.
10. Transfer the braid to the mold and cover it with the hot lid. The hot lid will expand the heat and make the braid grow faster during the second fermentation phase.
11. Place a cloth on top as well, since at the ends there are small holes through which the air can vent.
12. Place the mold in the turned off oven. There will still be a little heat from heating the mold lid previously.
13. Leave the dough in the mold, rest in the oven for approximately 60-90 minutes, until it clearly doubles in size.

Emile Henry artisan bread oven and Revol porcelain individual bowl

4) Bake the Vianočka

  1. Remove the mold with the dough from the oven and heat the oven to 175°C.
  2. Remove the lid from the mold and brush, braid with a beaten egg and sprinkle with flaked almonds.

3. Bake (without the lid) for 45 minutes with top and bottom heat, without a fan. If the top of the braid starts to brown a lot, you can place aluminum foil on top.
4. Carefully remove the braid from the mold so that it does not break (it is very fragile when it is still hot) and transfer it to a rack to let it cool.
5. Serves as a snack or breakfast. With a little butter and jam it is a delicacy.

    Discover the step by step in this video:


    • Fermentation times are indicative and depend a lot on your ambient temperature at home. It may be less if your kitchen is warm or more if it is colder.
    • You can make this type of bread in a baking tray, but I like to make it in the Emile Henry mold for several reasons:
      • During the second fermentation the mold maintains a beautiful shape in the braid by growing tall and not wide.
      • It is easier to cover it with its lid and not with plastic, so that the dough does not dry out during fermentation.
      • By heating the lid before placing it on top we can accelerate the second phase of fermentation
    • There are other variations of the recipe where raisins previously hydrated in rum are added to the dough , but in our house we prefer the option without raisins.
    • If you forget to make the pre-ferment you can prepare the dough directly without the pre-ferment, but adding the pre-ferment ingredients to the dough. But I recommend, if possible, always do it with the preferment. This makes the braid come out even tastier, lighter and lasts longer.
    • If it seems too big, you can make the recipe 2/3 of the quantity (so you don't have problems with the yolks separating). But around here this sweet bread always flies quickly and when we get used to it, we prepare more quantity. You can also make it whole and freeze the leftover piece to defrost or toast another day.
    • If for any reason you get hard vianočka, it is ideal for making French toast.
    Recipe author: Veka from Masasdemadre


    Claudia said:

    Muchas gracias por compartirlo aquí con nosotros, Isabel. La verdad es que sí, es una receta que sale muy bien siguiéndola tal cual. Gracias!!

    Isabel said:

    Yo la hice y siguiendo la receta sale muy bien. Bonita y deliciosa.

    Leave a comment