Loretta’s Hoska

Hoska is a delicious Czech Christmas sweet bread made by Grandma, and then Mom, and then Loretta, and now Anna.

A couple of kids

Recipe submitted, after extensive taste testing, by Nancy & Anna.
Makes 2 loaves. Bake 1 hour at 325-350F.


  • 1/2 C sultana raisins
  • 1/2 c sliced almonds plus a few whole peeled almonds

Soak #1 in 1/2 c rum or Grand Marnier overnight.


  • 1/2 c lukewarm milk
  • 2 T dry yeast
  • pinch sugar

Let #2 rise 5 minutes or until puffy.


  • 1 c soft butter
  • 1 c sugar

Cream together #3

Mix together #s 2 and 3 and add:


  • Zest of 1 lemon (not lime)
  • 1-1/2 c warm milk (room temperature)
  • 4 eggs (1 at a time)
  • 1 t Mexican vanilla
  • 1-1/2 t salt
  • 6 – 8 c flour (as needed)

Mix to form a dough and knead 15-20 minutes.

Add #1 minus whole almonds.

Place in a large buttered bowl and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled (1-1/2 to 2 hours).

Shape into 2 double braids (see below).

Place soaked whole almonds decoratively along double braids. Cover and let rise again to double–about 30 to 45 minutes. Mix 1 egg with a bit of milk and brush tops of braids. Bake 1 hour or so at 325 F until golden, brushing on more of the milk/egg wash about 1/2 way through.

If necessary, use foil to cover if Hoska appears to be browning too fast.


To form double braids:

  • Divide dough in half – then separate each half into 6 balls (3 larger, 3 smaller)
  • Roll balls into about 30 cm long ropes, using hands. There should be 3 thicker and 3 thinner ropes.
  • Braid larger ropes and place on baking sheet tucking in ends of braids.
  • Braid smaller ropes and place them on top of the larger braid.