Have you ever heard of hoska bread? I am guessing no, which is why I wanted to share it! Hoska bread is a Bohemian recipe from my great-grandmother that has been passed down to four generations. It is a beautiful braided bread studded with pecans, almonds, and raisins. Personally, I find it best enjoyed warm from the oven or toasted before serving. A nice smear of melted butter is also nice, too! The dried fruit adds sweetness and the nuts add wonderful flavor and texture. This recipe is enjoyed by our family every year during the Christmas season.
Unfortunately, I cannot help with the preparation seeing that I am fighting nasty, flu-like symptoms. My husband Rob has been battling this too. This certainly is not how we had hoped to spend our time off work, but sometimes life throws curveballs. Though we are missing out on visiting friends, we are making the most of our time spent indoors nonetheless. If anyone else is sick out there, I wish you swift healing and great health in 2018. Being sick is the worst!
My mom is an expert when it comes to baking so she prepared the bread on her own this year. Thanks Mom!
Makes 4 loaves
3 cups milk
4 Tbsp (½ stick) butter
1 tablespoon salt
¼ cup sugar
2 eggs, beaten
1½ packages yeast
¼ cup lukewarm water
Flour to make a firm dough (about 12 cups)
1 ½ cups raisins
1 ½ cups golden raisins
2 cups sliced almonds
1 ½ cups pecans
1 egg white slightly beaten
Place raisins in a large bowl of warm water to soak. On the stove, heat milk and butter over medium heat until butter is melted. Allow milk and butter mixture to cool for 30 minutes.
In a measuring cup, put yeast in ¼ cup warm water. Let sit for 5 minutes. In a large bowl, mix the milk and butter mixture, eggs, and yeast mixture. Then mix in salt, sugar, and start mixing in flour, 1 cup at a time.
When dough is mixed together and forms a cohesive ball, drain raisins thoroughly and dry with paper towels. Add raisins and nuts to dough. Knead dough until firm, adding additional flour if dough becomes too sticky. Grease bowl and cover dough with a tea towel. Place in a warm place.
Let dough rise one hour, or until doubled in size, and punch down. Let rise another 30 minutes.
To form braided loaves, first divide dough into 4 equal sections. From each section of dough, roll out 7 equal pieces into 1” tubes about 12” long. Braid 4 tubes of dough and place on greased baking sheet. Then braid 3 tubes together and place on top of other section. The bread may also be baked in a regular loaf pan without being braided. Brush loaves with egg white and sprinkle with poppy seeds. Let rise 30 minutes. Bake at 350°F for 30 minutes and at 325°F for ~30 minutes more. Bread is best served warm or toasted.