Contestant, Wisconsin State Fair, 2013


Greater Midwest Foodways Alliance



Wisconsin State Fair

August 4, 2013





(A Bohemian Sweet Bread)

Timothy Anton Urbaniak, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin


This braided Bohemian Sweet Bread recipe has been in the family at least 4 generations. It was brought to the United States when my father’s family emigrated from Bohemia in the late 1800s. My great-great grandmother served it on Easter and Christmas. My father remembers my great grandmother taking great pride in serving houska as one of the family favorites at holidays. As with most of our family recipes, none of them were written down, but passed from generation to generation through hands on learning and memory.


The original recipe, and others, were finally written down by my grandmother who gave them to my uncles and my father. My grandmother’s handwritten recipe is four pages of detailed instructions on how to create the sweet bread. My dad finally wore out the recipe, as he continued to make it for the family. So he decided to rework the recipe into the final form you see today. And now he has begun to teach me how to make houska. I look forward to making it for many years to come and to passing it on to the next generation of my family.






(A Bohemian Sweet Bread)

Timothy Anton Urbaniak, Wauwatosa, Wisconsin



1 cup evaporated milk

1/2 tsp salt

1/2 cup sugar

6 tbsp butter

1/2 tsp vanilla

1 pkg dry Red Star Yeast

2 tbsp very warm tap water (110 to 115 degrees)

1/2 tsp sugar

2 eggs

2 egg yolks

4 to 6 cups all-purpose flour

1 additional beaten egg white with a 1 Tbps of water for egg wash



Heat milk to warm, add salt, sugar and butter. Heat until sugar is dissolved. Take off heat and allow to cool. In another bowl, combine warm tap water, yeast and 1/2 tsp sugar. Set aside and allow to ferment 5 to 10 minutes.

In another bowl, combine eggs, and yolks. When milk has cooled to lukewarm, add to eggs, along with vanilla. Then add yeast mixture.


Add yeast mixture with 4 cups flour in mixing bowl with bread hook. Allow to mix, adding more flour until a soft dough forms (or dough does not stick to sides of bowl or the hook). Mix on low for 6 minutes. Take out dough and knead on floured surface, until dough springs back when lightly touched (several more minutes). Put dough in greased metal bowl, turning dough once to grease top. Cover bowl with press and seal.


Preheat oven to 200F. Turn off oven. Place dough in oven and allow to double in size. Remove from oven. Punch down dough and divide in 6 even balls. Roll each ball into a rope, twelve to fourteen inches long. Braid 3 of the ropes for a loaf on a greased baking sheet, tucking in ends to form a nice loaf. Repeat the process for the second loaf.


Cover with clean towel and allow to rise for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Brush egg wash over top and sides of loaves and place in oven to bake for 25 to 30 minutes until golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove to cool on wire rack.