Can you imagine eating something so soft that ´literally´ melts in your mouth? This is exactly it. Softer than a cloud everytime it comes out of your oven. This is a traditional sweet breakfast bread, typical for our conutry, Slovakia. The tradition is to eat it at Christmas morning with butter and homemade jam., but this bread is available throughout the year.
Everybody in my family loves this bread, so I wanted to bake us a healthier version of this sweet and cloudy temptation. I found the perfect recipe for this healthy but still the most delicious Vianočka using whole wheat flour. Trust me, this works every time!
(Inspired by many amazing foodbloggers out there on food 52.Thank you for creating such an amazing food world!)
1 1/2 cup warm water, divided
1/4 plus 2 tablespoons sugar, divided
2 tbls instant yeast (powdered)
6 cups flour, I used half white and half whole wheat graham flour, plus little more for dusting
2 tsp salt
1/4 cup honey, plus 1 tbls for a eggwash
2/3 cups flavorless vegetable oil or canola oil
4 eggs, plus one egg yolk for an eggwash
Mix one cup warm water with 2 tbls of sugar in a small bowl, sprinkle the active dry yeast on top and let it proof for a few minutes. In a medium bowl mix together eggs, oil, and honey.
In another bowl mix flour, salt and the rest of sugar. When the yeast finished its proofing, add the yeast mixture into flour mixture, followed by your wet ingredients. Mix with a wooden spoon for about 30 seconds, until it comes all together. Then lightly flour your working surface and knead the dough until it´s no longer sticky. Id the dough keeps sticking, add some more flour, but not too much-otherwise vianočka would become hard and you really don´t want this.Just keep adding the flour until you have a smooth and elastic dough.
Then divide this dough into two equal pieces and let them raise in lightly oiled bowls, covered with a damp towel. It should take about 2 to 3 hours, until doubled in size.
After the raise, divide each ball of dough into as many parts as you want your vianocka to be braided as. I divided mine into 9 equal parts and the other one to 5 parts. Some people find the braiding to be little bit tricky so here is a little help. http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4TOKt18P7z4 Don´t be scared, remember that practice makes perfect!
When done with braiding, I let it raise for second time. I find vianočka to be softer and fluffier after the second rise. Than, preheat the oven to 190°C and brush your vianočkas with an eggwas (mix 1 tbls of water, 1 tbls of honey with one egg yolk). Bake for about 20-25 minutes until beautifully golden.
Enjoy with pistachio cream or with a real butter and a homemade jam.