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Vasilopita (Orange Sweet Bread)

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Kathryn Dietz

"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."
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5 h 46 m servings 591 cals
Original recipe yields 12 servings (2 loaves)

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  • Prep

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  1. Mix orange juice, water, and cinnamon in a microwave-safe bowl. Heat in the microwave until the mixture registers 110 degrees F (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 margarine 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 plastic wrap; let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, 2 to 4 hours.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Grease 2 round cake pans.
  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 plastic wrap; 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 center comes out with a few crumbs attached, 30 to 55 minutes.


  • Cook's Notes:
  • If the mixture doesn't bubble in step 2, it is possible that your water was too hot. You'll have to start over.
  • Cover bread with aluminum foil in step 9 if it appears to be browning too quickly.

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 591 calories; 18 g fat; 94 g carbohydrates; 12.7 g protein; 62 mg cholesterol; 696 mg sodium. Full nutrition

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