Raisin Twists and Rye Bread

by Judy B.
(Oswego, IL)


Please help -

My one grandmother used to make raisin twists. They didn't have cinnamon in them, and I was wondering if it is the same recipe I use for my koláče - not the individual koláčky but the coffee cakes.

Also, my other grandmother made the best rye bread. She never used any pans. She just made one huge loaf of rye bread with caraway seeds with the best crust I ever had. I guess she used to just put it on a baking sheet and she knew when it was done.

This bread was not really light nor dark, but just the right medium color for rye bread.

Any help out there? Please!!

Our Response:

Hello Judy,

Thanks for your questions. I hope I can help you out here…

I am not sure what recipe that you have for "coffee cakes," but the raisin twists could be vánočka, translated as Christmas Cake, because it is always made around Christmas. The recipe is similar as yeast koláče, but the dough is thicker, and the recipe usually calls for less milk.

Here is a fairly simple recipe for vánočka. It is in grams, but it might help to compare to yours. If you need help, we can try to transfer it to cups if that's what you are used to.

Christmas Cake Recipe (Vánočka)

500 g baking flour
150 g butter
100 g sugar
25 g yeast
pinch of salt
graded lemon peel from one lemon
1 Tbs vanilla sugar
1/4 – 1/3 liter milk
4 egg yolks
80 g raisins
50 g sliced almonds to sprinkle on the top
1 egg + 1 table spoon of cream to brush the twist before baking

About the bread. I don't know if this helps, but we make rye bread at home sometimes (following my grandfather's recipe and his baking techniques :-)

He would make a loaf of bread and put it straight on a metal baking sheet without any form, he let the dough rise and then baked it. That way the bread crust is baked nicely on all sides. The best way is to make the loaf a bit higher, as it becomes flatter when it rises. We put the loaf on the flat pan with the baking paper.

Some people used to cut a small 'X' with scissors on the top of the bread. I am not sure if it is only a Czech tradition or if it is supposed to help the dough to rise in any way :-)

For better crust, you can brush the loaf of bread with water mixed with olive oil and a bit of salt. I brush it couple of times when raising and also during baking. If you feel that the crust is being done too fast, you can cover it with aluminum foil in the end.

Also, for the bread to be moist, many people put a pan with water on the bottom of the oven for the last 15 min of baking. I usually bake bread for an hour on average.

I hope this helps… If you have any other questions, please respond here or contact us directly.

All the best from Prague!

My Prague Sights

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