Verzija na srpskom
Today is the second day of my Christmas...I know it sounds strange, such a late Christmas, but some Christian Orthodox churches use old calendar that is two weeks late. So, I decided to make traditional Serbian Christmas bread. Serbian Christmas Bread (Česnica) is regular bread but with a twist - coin added to a dough... after the bread is done you share it with the family members and who gets the coin in the piece of bread will be the lucky for the whole year. I made few of them before, but this time it turned out to be very beautiful. I think bread braiding added something special to a whole thing.
- 4 1/2 cups bread flour
- 1 cup warm milk
- 1 cup warm water
- 1/2 oz active yeast
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- 9 tablespoons melted butter
- 2 eggs
- Stir together flour, salt, sugar, yeast, melted butter and one beaten egg in a mixing bowl. Pour warm milk and water into the flour mixture. Mix everything with the spoon.
- Transfer the dough to the counter and knead for about 10 min. Add more flour if needed.
- Form dough in the round shape (boule) and put in the lightly oiled large bowl to rise for 1 hour, to double its original size. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
- Remove the dough from the bowl and divide in two pieces, smaller should be for braiding.
- Make boule (round shape loaf) from the larger piece and transfer it to slightly oiled baking pan. Although the size of boule is smaller than the pan, don't worry, it will rise and fill up the pan.
- Divide smaller piece of dough into 3 equal pieces. Roll out the pieces into strands and braid them using 3-braid method. It is easier than you think.
- Transfer braid to the top of boule to fit baking pan.
- Brush the bread with egg wash (beaten egg with a little bit of water) and cover with plastic wrap for 40 min.
- Preheat oven to 400F.
- Bake bread for 35-40 min. The bread should be golden brown on the top.
- When it is done, transfer the bread to a rack to cool down.
- And, pray to get the piece with the coin.
Note: Since this was my first post on blog ever, I was not so precise. You should increase amount of flour to 5 cups and even more, and decrease milk and water to 3/4 cup each.
You can make this shape, on picture below, if you place braid in spiral way over the top.
This recipe has been featured in the New York Times' website, December 2011.
This is Česnica made by my dear friend Richard.
This Česnica was made by Radmila.
This Česnica was baked by Dušica.