Vasilopita (New Year Bread)

Recipe by basia1
READY IN: 14mins
YIELD: 1 loaf




  • Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup of the milk.
  • Add remainder of milk, eggs, orange rind and sugar.
  • Sift 3 cups flour, salt and spices into a warm bowl and make a wellin 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.
  • Leave 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 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 rack.


“Greek 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. From: "The Complete Middle East Cookbook" by Tess Mallos ISBN: 1 86302 069 1”