ΒΑΣΙΛΟΠΙΤΑ / NEW YEAR’S BREAD

2 cups milk

1 1/2 sticks butter

2 packages yeast dissolved in 1/4 cup lukewarm water and 2 tablespoons sugar

5 eggs

1 1/2 cups sugar

1/2 teaspoon salt

1 1/2 teaspoon mastichi powder

Zest and juice of one orange

8-10 cups all purpose flour

1 beaten egg

Sesame seeds

Heat milk and butter. Let cool to lukewarm (about 110°). Dissolve yeast with water and sugar and let stand for 5 minutes. Beat the five eggs. Add the sugar and mix well. Mix with yeast and add to milk and butter. Add salt, mastichi powder and orange juice and zest. Mix well. Begin adding flour and knead until dough is no longer sticky (about an hour). You may also use a heavy duty mixer with a dough hook for most of the kneading.

Shape dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled. Punch down raised dough and shape into round loaves.

(OPTIONAL: I take two pieced of dough and, with my hands, roll each into a rope about 10 inches long. I place each rope in a cross shape on top of the bread, cutting down each of the four ends about 2 inches and twirling them into a flourish at each end of the cross.)

Place a dime in each loaf. Sprinkle with sesame seeds and lightly pat them down into the dough. Place in greased, round cake pans and let rise, covered, until doubled.

Beat the egg with a little water and brush on the loaves. Bake at 350 degrees until browned, about 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 325 if loaves brown too fast. Remove from overnight and cool wrapped in tea towels. Enjoy!

Cut the bread, naming each slice for a family member. The one who gets the dime has special luck in the new year.

NOTE: I use the same recipe to make Easter Bread, which is called tsoureki/ τσουρέκι. Two differences are: 1) to place a dyed egg, always red, on the bread, pressing in hard into the bread; and 2) to use sliced almonds instead of sesame seeds. See pictures below.

img_4498

Τσουρέκι/Tsoureki Photos

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