Vasilopita (Greek orange sweet bread)

    5 hours 46 min

    This is a delicious orange sweet bread recipe that has been passed down in my family for several generations. It is a Greek tradition to serve this bread on New Year's morning. A coin is placed in the bread while baking, and when served, the person who finds the coin is said to have good luck for the year. It still makes a wonderful breakfast bread to be served anytime! The aroma that fills your home while baking this recipe is heavenly! It is an all-day process to make this bread, but it is worth it! For Greeks, this is a bread version of Vasilopita, not the dessert cake variety.

    2 people made this

    Serves: 12 

    • 120ml orange juice
    • 120ml water
    • 1 tablespoon ground cinnamon
    • 3 (7g) sachets dried active yeast
    • 400g caster sugar
    • 225g unsalted butter or margarine, melted
    • 4 eggs
    • 1 orange, zested
    • 975g white bread flour, or more as needed
    • 1 tablespoon salt
    • 1 tablespoon baking powder
    • 2 coins wrapped in foil
    • 1 egg white
    • 1 teaspoon vanilla extract

    Prep:30min  ›  Cook:31min  ›  Extra time:4hr45min rising  ›  Ready in:5hr46min 

    1. Mix orange juice, water and cinnamon in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave until the mixture registers 43 degrees C on an instant-read thermometer, 1 to 2 minutes.
    2. Stir yeast into the orange juice mixture. Let stand until yeast is creamy and frothy, about 45 minutes.
    3. Combine sugar and butter in the bowl of a stand mixer. Beat until creamy. Add eggs; beat on high speed for 30 seconds. Mix in yeast mixture and orange zest until well combined.
    4. Sift flour, salt and baking powder together in a bowl. Add gradually to the mixture in the stand mixer, mixing with a bread hook until a soft, sticky dough forms, about 5 minutes.
    5. Transfer dough to a large glass bowl. Cover with cling film; let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 2 to 4 hours.
    6. Preheat oven to 180 C / Gas 4. Grease 2 round cake tins.
    7. Divide dough into 2 equal pieces. Put 1 wrapped coin in each piece; knead for 2 to 3 minutes and shape into a ball. Place 1 ball of dough in each cake pan. Cover with cling film; let rise until puffy, 2 to 4 hours more.
    8. Whisk egg white and vanilla together in a small bowl. Brush over the top of dough.
    9. Bake in the preheated oven until a knife inserted into the centre comes out with a few crumbs attached, 30 to 55 minutes.


    If the mixture doesn't bubble in step 2, it is possible that your water was too hot. You'll have to start over.

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