Monday, May 21, 2012

Family Recipe: Houska Braid Bread

I was so proud of myself for making this Houska Braid Bread for the first time ever.  This is one of those handed down recipes from my "Baba" (or Grandma) that she would make for Easter and Christmas each year.  I actually made it as a gift for my Dad for his birthday which was at the end of April and he loved it! Apparently after researching on the internet I found this out to be a traditional Bohemian Bread.  My Baba was Bohemian which made perfect sense to me.

Here is the recipe:

Houska Braid Bread
(makes 2 loaves)

1 cup milk scalded
1 cup butter
1 cup sugar
1 cup cream
4 eggs (beaten)
2 pkg. yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup lukewarm milk
2 tsp. lemon rind
1/2 tsp. mace
8-9 cups flour
1 cup yellow raisins
1 cup chopped blanched raisins

Scald milk and add butter, sugar, cream, and eggs.  Add to the yeast mixture.  Mix in lemon rind, mace, and then add flour, raisins, and almonds.  Knead until smooth.  Place in greased bowl and let rise until doubled.  Punch down and divide in half.  Divide each into 3 parts and braid. (great tutorial on braiding bread here.)  Bake at 350 degree for 40 to 45 minutes. I brushed the top of the bread with an egg wash too.  Enjoy!

What are your favorite handed down family recipes?


  1. Looks so yummy! I bet your dad loved it, especially if he loved it as a child, and it was his mama that used to make it :)

    1. Thanks Crystal. Yes, he did and he often talks about food he had as a child. Potato pancakes....and more.

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  3. That looks so good, and it sounds really easy. We'll have to try it. My MIL makes this paper bag apple pie that's ridiculously good. You bake the whole thing inside a paper bag, and it helps it retain the moisture and makes a huge difference. According to her it's a Pennsylvania Dutch recipe. My mom makes a matzoh brie, without a recipe, so I've learned to make it from watching her, and then we improvise. This is partly where my zest for experimentation comes from, I'm sure!

    1. Actually, it is a pretty long process, but very fun to make. Never heard of a paper bag apple pie. I'll have to try it even though I am a master at making pies! Thanks for sharing your experiences Rachelle. Cooking definitely leads to wonderful memories of my Mom and Grandmas. I've often thought about entering cooking contests because I love the experimentation involved in cooking.

  4. That's amazing that someone so far away baked this "houska"/"vánočka" as we call it more often here in Czech! We sometimes have them for Sunday breakfasts or Christmas (in Czech "Vánoce" so "vánočka" means something like Christmas pastry:)) and Easter:) Although I haven't tried to bake it myself - maybe I will now! Where exactly was your grandma from?

    1. Thanks for the information. I love it. My Great Grandparents came from Bohemia, but not sure exactly where.I wish I had more information.
      My own Grandma I am referring to was the daughter of immigrants from Bohemia/Czech (around early 1900s) The last name was Vajgl. My Moms' parents
      could speak bohemian/Czech, but the last generation to speak it was my own grandparents. A lot of tradition are lost, but fortunately recipes are passed on.

      Let me know how your bread turns out.