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.

ANNAV

Recipe Summary

prep:
2 hrs 30 mins
cook:
40 mins
total:
3 hrs 10 mins
Servings:
8
Yield:
1 large loaf
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Ingredients

8
Original recipe yields 8 servings
The ingredient list now reflects the servings specified
Ingredient Checklist

Directions

Instructions Checklist
  • 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.

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  • 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.

Nutrition Facts

339 calories; protein 7.5g 15% DV; carbohydrates 18g 6% DV; fat 27.2g 42% DV; cholesterol 152.5mg 51% DV; sodium 355.2mg 14% DV. Full Nutrition
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Reviews (11)

Read More Reviews

Most helpful positive review

Rating: 4 stars
09/23/2003
Makes good bread and wonderful toast! Had a bit of trouble with the recipe because the first part instructs you to put milk yeast and some flour to rise but then it doesn't specifically tell you to mix it in with the big bowl of flour. My dough was almost too much for a 9" round pan. The flavor is really good and it makes some of the best toast I've ever had! It's close to my grandmother's recipe which I've been trying to replicate for several years. Read More
(33)

Most helpful critical review

Rating: 1 stars
01/06/2018
I prefer cake-y not bready vasilopita. But I decided to give this recipe a try anyways just to try something different. Boy was that a mistake! When making this recipe I kept thinking "This can't be right. This can't be right." The only flavor in this cake comes from cinnamon and nutmeg and a half teaspoon of each to over 6 CUPS of flour? The crust cracked and separated from the loaf (a symptom of overproofed dough yet the dough hardly rose during the 90 minute proofing time.) This vasilopita is one of the ugliest cakes or breads I've ever baked. The crust is extremely tough. I split the dough into two round cake pans (I can't imagine making this into just one gigantic cake yet the recipe simply says "Put the dough into a pan ") and let it proof for close to 90 minutes (yet it hardly rose - no small wonder as there was a huge amount of dough.) When I put it in the oven it rose very tall. Despite rising so tall and being a rather voluminous cake/bread/whatever it's supposed to be it's a strangely dense fluffy... thing. Read More
(2)
12 Ratings
  • 5 star values: 4
  • 4 star values: 7
  • 3 star values: 0
  • 2 star values: 0
  • 1 star values: 1
Rating: 4 stars
09/23/2003
Makes good bread and wonderful toast! Had a bit of trouble with the recipe because the first part instructs you to put milk yeast and some flour to rise but then it doesn't specifically tell you to mix it in with the big bowl of flour. My dough was almost too much for a 9" round pan. The flavor is really good and it makes some of the best toast I've ever had! It's close to my grandmother's recipe which I've been trying to replicate for several years. Read More
(33)
Rating: 4 stars
10/13/2003
great sweet taste. also really convenient b/c you don't have to knead it. the texture leaves a little to be desired but the taste makes up for it. the only problem is that this needs to be in a 9x13 cake pan. the 8x8 is entirely too small. Read More
(9)
Rating: 5 stars
01/02/2015
I used 1 tablespoon of yeast 3/4 cups of milk 3 eggs 1 1/2 teaspoon grated orange rind 1teaspoon almond extract 3/4 cup brown sugar 4 1/2 cups flour 1/4 teaspoon salt 1/2 teaspoon cinnamon 1/2 cup melted butter and 1more egg for glazing with the almonds. I made it like ordinary bread rising three times and baking it at 350. It turned out perfect. Read More
(5)
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Rating: 4 stars
01/01/2018
It was very easy to make. I am gifting this to a local restaurant owner with best wishes for a happy and healthy new year. I just thought it would be nice to have someone serve them something (traditional) for a change. I only hope it tastes as good as it smells! Here's hoping for the best...I used a foil pan that was roughly the same size as the springform pan the recipe called for. I even baked a pure ounce silver coin in it. Read More
(2)
Rating: 1 stars
01/06/2018
I prefer cake-y not bready vasilopita. But I decided to give this recipe a try anyways just to try something different. Boy was that a mistake! When making this recipe I kept thinking "This can't be right. This can't be right." The only flavor in this cake comes from cinnamon and nutmeg and a half teaspoon of each to over 6 CUPS of flour? The crust cracked and separated from the loaf (a symptom of overproofed dough yet the dough hardly rose during the 90 minute proofing time.) This vasilopita is one of the ugliest cakes or breads I've ever baked. The crust is extremely tough. I split the dough into two round cake pans (I can't imagine making this into just one gigantic cake yet the recipe simply says "Put the dough into a pan ") and let it proof for close to 90 minutes (yet it hardly rose - no small wonder as there was a huge amount of dough.) When I put it in the oven it rose very tall. Despite rising so tall and being a rather voluminous cake/bread/whatever it's supposed to be it's a strangely dense fluffy... thing. Read More
(2)
Rating: 5 stars
02/08/2019
In our family we use mahlepi and not cinnamon/nutmeg which is our tradition. I also used two smaller pans to make it easier to share and cut back on cooking time. Perfect. Read More
(1)
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Rating: 5 stars
01/04/2017
Delicious came light and fluffy and tasty!!!! Read More
(1)
Rating: 5 stars
01/02/2017
Made the recipe as is and it was a huge hit! Just the right amount of sweetness. Perfect recipe and will be making again! Thank you. Read More
(1)
Rating: 4 stars
01/02/2020
This recipe was straight forward and if you have bread experience should not be a problem. My only concern is with the recommended cook time. The recipe says 40 minutes but my bread was still wet in the middle at 40 minutes. I use an instant-read thermometer to check bread (s/b about 190-200). It took another 20 minutes to get to the correct temp. My oven is new I will check to see if it is off. Other than that it turned out well. I will use again. Read More
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