A long time ago, when Hubby had to drive all over the Chicago area for work, he used to visit this little bakery in Berwyn that makes THE BEST HOUSKA BREAD IN THE KNOWN UNIVERSE! As time went on, he would only stop in and pick some up if he was in the area, which was less and less often. And then the gluten-free thing happened...
Fast forward until today...
For Hubby's Christmas present this year, I decided to try to make GF Houska Bread. The potato rolls were such a success on Thanksgiving, I felt brave, confident, and creative. Besides, what did I have to lose?
SPH Gluten Free Houska Bread
1 box Gluten Free Pantry (brand) Favorite Sandwich Bread Mix
1 small box Jell-o (brand) vanilla instant pudding mix
1/2 c. sugar
1 t. dried grated orange peel (more or less to taste)
1/2 t. ground mace
1/2 t. ground nutmeg
1/4 c. butter, melted
3 eggs + 1 egg yolk for later
2 c. heavy cream, warmed
GF all purpose flour (I use Gluten Free Pantry brand) - amount may vary
1 c. golden raisins, soaked in orange juice at least overnight, preferably 24 hours and DRAINED WELL
(No OJ? Use water with a splash of orange extract)
A couple tablespoons of water
Sliced, blanched almonds (optional)
Vanilla frosting in a can (optional)
Preheat oven to 375. Add bread mix, yeast packet in the bread mix box, pudding mix, orange peel, mace, and nutmeg. Stir til well combined. In a separate small bowl, beat butter, eggs and cream together. Stir into dry ingredients and mix well. Using dough hook, continue to mix for another 3 minutes. Add more flour as necessary in small increments until it looks like "real" bread dough. You'll recognize when it's ready - it will start to get a bit "flaky" like a pie crust only bigger. Stir in raisins. Scoop dough into well-greased 9x5 loaf pan. Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise in a warm place for about 30 minutes. I set mine on my stovetop while the oven is preheating.
When dough has risen to top of pan, place in preheated oven, and bake for 20 minutes. While bread is baking, beat together the egg yolk and a few tablespoons of water to make an egg wash. At the 20 minute mark, brush top of bread with egg wash and sprinkle with sliced almonds if desired. Allow bread to bake another 15-20 minutes, until it begins to pull away from the sides and sounds hollow when thumped on the bottom. If the crust starts to get too dark, cover with foil. When done, remove bread from oven, and glaze gently with vanilla frosting if desired. We opted against the almonds and just glazed it. Let bread cool completely before slicing.
The results were AMAZING! I had almost forgotten how good this bread really is. One bite and my taste buds said "we recognize this!" which was of course followed by "mmmmmmmmmm". Hubby is very pleased with his early Christmas treat!
Start a new tradition at your house - make some houska bread! Prejeme Vam Vesele Vanoce!