Recipe: Vasilopita New Year Bread

Title: Vasilopita (New Year Bread)
Categories: Greek, Breads
Servings: 1

1 pk Active dry yeast
3/4 c Milk; lukewarm
3 Eggs; beaten
1 1/2 ts Grated orange rind
3/4 c Caster sugar
4 1/2 c Plain flour
1/4 ts Salt
1/2 ts Ground cinnamon
1/4 ts Ground masticha
1/2 c Butter; melted
1 Egg; for glazing
Blanched split almonds

New Year Bread is traditionally cut at midnight on New Year's Eve. After
baking, a coin is inserted through a slit in the base. The person who
finds the coin will have luck in the New Year. Long ago the coin used to
be a gold one, then later a silver coin was used. These could be
incorporated into the dough before baking. Nowadays because of the nickel
content of coins it is undesirable to bake a coin in the cake.

Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of the milk. Add remainder of milk, eggs,
orange rind and sugar. Sift 3 cups flour, salt and spice into a warm bowl
and make a well in the centre. Pour in yeast mixture and stir to blend in
flour, gradually adding warm melted butter. Mix dough with hands until it
comes away from sides. Turn on to a floured surface and knead until
smooth and elastic, adding remaining flour as required. Knead for 10
minutes. Place ball of dough in a clean bowl brushed with melted butter.
Turn dough over to coat top with butter and cover bowl with a cloth or
plastic wrap. Leav to prove (rise) in a warm place until doubled in bulk.
Punch down and turn on to lightly floured surface. Knead lightly and
shape into a round loaf. Place on a large greased baking sheet or in a
greased 25 cm (10 inch) deep cake tin. Cover and let rise in a warm place
until doubled - about 1 1/2 to 2 hours.

Glaze with well-beaten egg and arrange blanched almonds in numbers to
denote the New Year, pressing in lightly. Bake in a moderately hot oven
for 45 minutes until golden brown and cooked when tested. If bread browns
too quickly place a piece of greased brown paper on top. Cool on a wire

From: "The Complete Middle East Cookbook" by Tess Mallos
ISBN: 1 86302 069 1

Typed for you by Karen Mintzias

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