New Year’s Bread/Vasilopeta

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New Year’s Bread/Vasilopeta
Greeks bake a coin inside this bread.At midnight on New Year’s Eve, the bread is sliced.According to tradition, the person who gets the slice with the coin will have good luck in the coming year.

Ingredients

        1 package active dry yeast; ¼ c. warm water
        ½ c. milk; 1/3 c. butter
        ½ c. sugar; 3 eggs
        2 tsp. grated orange peel
        1 tsp. grated lemon peel
        ½ tsp. salt
        3 c. unsifted all-purpose flour
        1 egg yolk mixed with 1 tbsp. water

        Blanched almonds.

Instructions

1. Sprinkle yeast into the warm water and stir just enough to blend. Let stand until dissolved.


2. In a small pot, heat milk and butter together until butter melts. Be careful not to let the mixture boil.

3. Empty mixture into a large bowl and add sugar. Cool to lukewarm. Add eggs one at a time and beat with a fork or whisk until smooth. Add yeast. Mix in orange peel, lemon peel, and salt.

4. Gradually add 3 c. of flour, beating on low with an electric mixer for 5 minutes. 

5. Place dough on a lightly floured board and knead until smooth and no longer sticky (about 5 to 10 minutes). If necessary, knead in additional flour.

6. Place dough in a large greased bowl and grease the top of the dough lightly with melted butter. Cover with plastic wrap. Let rise in a warm place until dough has doubled in size (about 1¼ hours).

7. Put risen dough on a lightly floured board and knead lightly. If you want, put a washed silver coin in the dough. Shape into a round cake about 9 inches in diameter.
8. Place the dough on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise until doubled (about 40 minutes).

9. Preheat oven to 325ºF.

10. Brush egg yolk mixture evenly over the loaf. Arrange almonds on top forming the numerals of the coming year. Bake 40 minutes, or until golden brown. Serve warm.

Food: New Year’s Bread/Vasilopeta

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