New Year’s Bread – Vasilopita

Happy New Year!!

Time flies and we are already in year 2020. May the new year brings in joy, success, health, and lots of love to everyone. Not forgetting plenty of rain for Australia.

New year new resolution, and of course I’ve set myself a new challenge. My friend gifted me Vefa Alexiadou’s Greece, The Cookbook for Christmas so I’ve decided to do a cookbook challenge this year. Each week, I’ll be making a few dishes from the cookbook and aim to finish the whole book by end of the year. So let’s get started.

Vefa Alexiado's, Greece, The Cookbook

What better way to start this challenge than to make the New Year’s Bread (Greek: Vasilopita). Feast of Saint Basil is observed on 1 January, the beginning of the New Year and the Epiphany season known as the Vasilopita Observance. On this day, the centerpiece of the festivities is the vasilopita, in which a lucky coin is concealed in the bread. Whoever finds the lucky coin will be blessed throughout the year. I’ve made this bread and brought it to a Greek New Year’s lunch. Everyone loved it!

You can find most of the ingredients you need in your pantry and it’s not hard to make. Even though it is called a bread, this recipe yield a bread that resembles a cake. It is decorated with seasonal shapes which is cut out from a small part of the dough.

  1. Firstly, preheat the oven to 180 degree celsius and line a round baking pan. By halving the original recipe (that’s what I did), you can make a decent size of 8 inch bread or two 5 inch breads. If you are using the original amount of ingredients, use a 12 inch baking pan.
  2. Then dice the chilled butter and sieve the flour. Rub the diced butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda, cream of tartar and brandy.
  4. In another bowl, combine milk, vanilla extract, eggs and caster sugar.
  5. Pour both of the liquid mixtures into the butter and flour mixture.
  6. Knead gently to a soft dough. Don’t over-knead.
  7. Reserve a small piece of dough for decorations. Press one part of the dough into the baking pan and push a coin, covered with aluminium foil into the dough. Press the rest of the dough into the baking pan.
  8. Brush with egg wash.
  9. Roll out the reserved dough on a lightly floured board. If the dough is too soft, just knead it with a tad more flour. Using cookie cutters, cut out decorations.
  10. Stick cut shapes on top of the bread. Brush the top with egg wash again.
  11. Bake the bread for 30-35 mins, or until golden brown. Once done, transfer the bread to a wire rack to cool.
  12. Store the bread in an air tight container.

Baking Equipment:

  • Bowl
  • Dough scrapper
  • Digital scale
  • Measuring spoons
  • Pastry board/mat
  • Baking pan
  • Cooling rack
  • Baking paper
  • Cookie cutter
  • Pastry brush
  • Whisk
  • Rolling pin
Vasilopita

New Year's Bread (Vasilopita)

  • Servings: 1 Loaf
  • Difficulty: Easy
  • Print

Vasilopita, a centerpiece for the Feast of Saint Basil in which a coin is concealed in the bread. Whoever finds the coin will be blessed throughout the year.

Adapted From: Greece, The Cookbook by Vefa Alexiadou [page 523]
Prepared By: Caroline|Sweetest Hour
Cuisine: Greek
Keywords: Greek bread recipe

Ingredients

  • Butter, unsalted, chilled and diced : 350g
  • All Purpose Flour: 700g, plus extra for dusting
  • Baking Soda : 1 1/2 Tsp
  • Cream of Tartar : 1 Tsp
  • Brandy : 2 Tbsp
  • Milk : 5 Tbsp
  • Vanilla Extract : 1 Tbsp
  • Eggs : 3
  • Caster Sugar : 300g
  • Egg yolk : 1, for egg wash

Directions

  1. Preheat the oven to 180 degree celsius and line a 12 inch round baking pan. (Note 1)
  2. Dice the chilled butter and sieve the flour. Rub the diced butter with your fingertips until the mixture resembles bread crumbs.
  3. In a separate bowl, combine the baking soda, cream of tartar and brandy.
  4. In another bowl, combine milk, vanilla extract, eggs and caster sugar. 5. Pour both of the liquid mixtures into the butter and flour mixture.
  5. Knead gently to a soft dough. Don’t over-knead.
  6. Reserve a small piece of dough for decorations. Press one part of the dough into the baking pan and push a coin, covered with aluminium foil into the dough. Press the rest of the dough into the baking pan.
  7. Brush with egg wash.
  8. Roll out the reserved dough on a lightly floured board. If the dough is too soft, just knead it with a tad more flour. Using cookie cutters, cut out decorations.
  9. Stick cut shapes on top of the bread. Brush the top with egg wash again.
  10. Bake the bread for 30-35 mins, or until golden brown. Once done, transfer the bread onto a wire rack to cool.
  11. Store the bread in an air tight container.

Recipe Note:

  1. By halving the original recipe (that’s what I did), you can make a decent size of 8 inch bread or two 5 inch breads. If you are using the original amount of ingredients, use a 12 inch baking pan.

Nutrition Per Serving (Based on 25 servings):

NUTRITION INFORMATIONAVE QUANTITY PER SERVING
Calories265kcal
Protein4.2g
Fat (total)12.5g
– Saturated Fat7.9g
Carbohydrate32.8g
Sugars12.3g
Sodium92mg

DID YOU MAKE THIS RECIPE?

Tag me on instragram @sweetest.hour and hashtag it #sweetesthour

BAKED THIS? RATE THIS RECIPE

Rating: 1 out of 5.

 

2 thoughts on “New Year’s Bread – Vasilopita

  1. I have this same cookbook. Vefa has some solid recipes. I haven’t tried this recipe as her vasilopita recipe is different from my family’s recipe (ours is more cake like and spiced, but these are regional differences) but it looks like you made a great one. The stars are so cute.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks for checking this out. There are tons of recipes in the book and can’t wait to make some. This ‘bread’ is slightly crumbly and they do look a bit cake like to me. And yes, everyone liked the stars 😁

      Like

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