Vánočka or Vianočka is a braided Christmas bread, baked in the Czech Republic (Vánočka) and Slovakia (Vianočka)
Vánoce in Czech and Vianoce in Slovak both mean Christmas!
Being rich in eggs and butter, makes them similar in many ways to brioche. Lemon rind and rum add color and flavor while fruits and almonds are also generally added.
Both the Vánočka and the Vianočka are built from three progressively smaller braids, stacked on top of each other.
This entails dividing the risen dough it into 9 parts. The first layer is weaved from 4 strands, the second from 3 strands and the third from 2 strands.
They should be laid on top of each other (4:3:2) and left to finish rising.
The final shape supposedly represents a vague sort of sculpture of the baby Jesus wrapped in cloth and lying in a manger.
But be that as it may!
There are a number of ‘braids’ to be found across Europe, such as the French Fruit Braid and the Russian Krendal just as there are a number of forms of the ‘stollen’ such as the Marzipan Stollen of Germany and the Kerstol of Holland.