Vasilopita, or Greek New Year's Bread, is a sweet yeasted egg bread scented with orange and traditionally served on New Year's day. A coin is hidden inside and whoever gets it has good luck for the year.
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5 from 4 votes

Vasilopita (Greek New Year's Bread)

Vasilopita, or Greek New Year's Bread, is a sweet yeasted egg bread scented with orange and traditionally served on New Year's day. A coin is hidden inside and whoever gets it has good luck for the year.
Prep Time30 mins
Cook Time40 mins
Course: Bread
Cuisine: Greek
Servings: 2 loaves
Calories: 285
Author: Elizabeth Lindemann

Ingredients

  • 2 packages active dry yeast  or 4 1/2 teaspoons
  • 2 cups milk warmed
  • 3/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 7 to 7 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
  • 2 tablespoons olive oil plus more for the bowl and pan
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 4 plus 1 eggs beaten
  • zest of one large orange
  • sesame seeds

Instructions

  • Dissolve yeast in one cup of warmed milk with one teaspoon sugar. Allow to double in volume for 10-20 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, stir together 7 cups of flour, the salt, and the 3/4 cups sugar in a large mixing bowl. Make a well in the center. When the yeast has finished doubling, add to the well in flour mixture, as well as olive oil, 4 beaten eggs, the rest of the milk, and the orange zest.
  • Mix with a wooden spoon until dough is smooth.
  • Turn dough out on a well floured surface and knead for about 10 minutes, adding more flour as needed if the dough is too sticky.
  • Place in an oiled bowl, turning once to coat the top. Cover and allow to rise in a warm place for 1-2 hours, or until doubled in size.
  • Punch dough down and divide into two portions. Knead each for a few minutes and place in two well-oiled 9-inch circular pans. Allow to rise until doubled in size for about one hour in a warm place.
  • Using a very sharp knife or clean razor blade, carve decorative patterns into the top of each loaf, such as with lines radiating out from the center.
  • Using a pastry brush, brush the top of each loaf with the remaining beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds.
  • Bake at 375 degrees F for 10 minutes, then turn the temperature down to 350 degrees F and bake for another 30 minutes or until the tops of each loaf turn a deep chestnut brown.
  • Allow to cool for at least 10 minutes before removing from the pan. Allow to cool completely on a cooling rack after removing it. At this point, you can insert a clean coin into the bottom of the loaf using a toothpick or skinny knife to push it in.
  • Cut into wedges and serve.

Notes

  • You can read more about the rich history and tradition of Vasilopita here.
  • This recipe is adapted from The Food of Greece by Vilma Liacouras Chantiles.
  • This recipe yields two loaves- the amounts can easily be halved to make only one.
  • The total time indicated does not include time to rise. You will need 3-4 hours total to make this bread.
  • The provided nutrition information does not include any added sodium from seasoning to taste, any optional ingredients, and it does not take brands into account. Feel free to calculate it yourself using this calculator or by adding the recipe to Yummly.

Nutrition

Serving: 1/8 loaf | Calories: 285kcal | Carbohydrates: 53.1g | Protein: 8.7g | Fat: 4g | Saturated Fat: 1.8g | Cholesterol: 57mg | Sodium: 193mg | Fiber: 1.7g | Sugar: 11g