The Vasilopita is a Greek New Year’s Bread. It is made in honor of a beautiful act of charity by St. Basil to the poor and needy of his flock. In order to ensure that the needy would have money for life’s necessities, and knowing that they were also proud people, St. Basil had the ladies of his church bake sweet bread with coins baked into them. In this way he could give them money without demeaning them at all. It is therefore traditional to bake a coin into the Vasilopita (St. Basil’s Bread). The one who receives the coin is considered to be especially blessed for the year.
In a small bowl, stir together 1/2 cup milk, yeast and 1/2 cup flour. Cover and let the sponge rise in a warm place until nearly doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
Place 6 cups flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add the sponge, salt, sugar, cinnamon, nutmeg, 3/4 cup melted butter, 3 eggs and 2 cups milk. Mix thoroughly to make a stiff dough.
Transfer the dough into a greased springform pan. Brush dough with melted butter, cover with greased plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 60 to 90 minutes.
Preheat oven to 375 degrees F (190 degrees C). Beat egg with 1 tablespoon water to make an egg wash.
When dough has risen, insert a clean silver coin into the loaf. Brush dough egg wash and sprinkle with chopped almonds. Bake in preheated oven until deep golden brown, about 40 minutes.
Per Serving: 339 calories; protein 7.5g; carbohydrates 18g; fat 27.2g; cholesterol 152.5mg; sodium 355.2mg.
The quality of the flour can make a real deal to your bread. Different makers do vary. Extra-strong or Canadian flours, which are bet higher in gluten, may give you a best rise than standard bread flours – especially if you’re making wholemeal dough , which doesn’t always getting bigger as well as clear bread.
To make this in a breadmaker , add all the ingredients to your breadmaker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
A bread first rising can be make in the fridge 24 hours . This slows down the time it takes to rise to double its size, giving it a deeper flavour. It’s also a great limit , as you can work it night before , then clear it off the next day.