Real Houska

When my Mom and Dad got married, she knew Dad liked houska, so asked him to ask his mother for the recipe. And when they would go over to their house, she would remind Dad. Dad would in turn ask his mother. And his mother would find some excuse to forget. Finally, in desperation, my Mom asked her mother-in-law whether the recipe was a family secret that couldn't be shared, or if she didn't have confidence that my Mom could make it, or what. Whereupon, my Grandmother promptly handed her the recipe. Along with the explanation. My Grandmother had a few recipes "given" to her for things that she didn't like making and didn't like to eat. So she had vowed that she would never hand out a recipe unless the WIFE asked personally.

The picture here is REAL houska (taken by a relative who lives in Prague). It doesn't look too much like what I remember (and typically make). What we got as kids was probably closer to "vanocka". Which is a Christmas sweet bread and has fruits in it. In fact, the original recipe that my mother got had candied fruit in it. But none of us kids liked candied fruit, so that got dropped.

1 Stick Margarine
1 C Scalded Milk
1/2 C Sugar
1 t Salt
4 Eggs
1 Pkg yeast
1/4 C Water
Approx 7 C flour

Scald Milk
Add margarine, Sugar and Salt and let Melt
Dissolve yeast in water
Add yeast and eggs to milk mix and beat.-- with Mixmaster if you want.
2 or 3 cups flour can also be beaten in with mixer if you want.
Then stir in most of the rest of the flour.
Sprinkle flour on pastry cloth or table and dump dough onto it
Knead 5 to 10 minutes but only to a very soft dough
Place in a greased pan - turn -
Let rise until double in bulk.
Punch down, form into loaves or buns.
Let rise 1/2 hour or until back to double size
Buns - 425 for 15 minutes
Loaves - 375 for 1/2 hour

A couple of notes from me...
It's a teaspoon of salt.. not a Tablespoon.
I've never been able to get all 7 cups of flour in. Usually 6 is about it.
I usually make a batch, split it in halves, split each half into three balls, and roll those into braids. I use my finger to push a trough down the middle of each braid, line that with cherries (we like those better than raisins), pour cinnamon sugar on top of the cherries, then braid them into loaves. Then I let them raise the second time.