Vasilopita bread is a sweet treat that is served on New Year, but it’s quite challenging to make. No worries! I’ve got you covered! Get your little helpers and follow my step by step recipe to create the perfect aromatic Vasilopita tsoureki to welcome the New Year!
For the Vasilopita Tsoureki bread
- 110g sugar (3 3/4 oz)
- 75ml milk (5 tbsp)
- 60g butter (2 oz), plus extra for the pan
- 12g instant yeast (1/2 oz)
- 65ml tepid water (1/4 cup)
- 1–2 mastic teardrops
- 1 1/2 tsp ground mahleb
- 435g strong bread flour (15 1/4 oz), plus extra for dusting
- 1/2 tsp salt
- zest of 1/2 large orange
- 2 large eggs
- seeds of 1/2 vanilla pod (optional)
For the glaze
- 20g flaked almonds (3/4 oz)
- 50g powdered sugar (1 3/4 oz), sieved to remove any lumps
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 3/4 tsp water
Prepare the dough for Vasilopita Tsoureki
To prepare this Vasilopita tsoureki bread recipe start by making the dough first.
Combine the sugar, milk and butter in a small saucepan and set over a medium low heat. Allow to heat through, whisking often until the butter has melted and the sugar has dissolved. Remove from the heat and allow to cool a little.
Meanwhile, whisk together the yeast and the tepid water and set aside until frothy.
Using a mortar and pestle, start to crush the mastic. To stop it sticking and to help break it down, add the mahleb and continue to grind to a powder.
In the bowl of your stand mixer, combine the flour, salt, orange zest and the spice mix, and set aside.
Lightly whisk the eggs in the bottom of a large mixing jug. Still whisking, gradually add the sugar, butter and milk mixture, which so not to cook the eggs should now be cool enough for you to comfortably hold your finger in. Next, whisk in the yeast mixture and the vanilla seeds, if using.
Stir the liquid mixture into the flour mixture using a fork, bringing the whole thing together into a rough dough.
With the dough hook attachment, knead the dough for 15 minutes until the dough is smooth, tight and stretchy. Using a dough scraper or a spatula scrape the dough into a ball and cover the bowl with plastic wrap, leaving it until it has at least doubled in size – this should take about 2 hours.
Form the Vasilopita Tsoureki
Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and knock back any air bubbles. Using a knife or a dough scraper, cut the dough into three equal sized pieces.
Taking each piece of dough between your palms, half stretch, half roll the dough into roughly 2 1/2 cm (1 inch) ropes. Pinch these together at the top and shape into a braid; not loose enough that there are any air pockets between the strands, but not too tight that the dough is stretched any further. Shape the plaited rope into a coil, tucking the ends underneath the coil to tidy it up.
- Generously butter a 18-20cm cake tin (7 inch) before lining it with a round of baking parchment.
Transfer the shaped dough to the prepared tin and cover again to rise again for another 2 hours.
Bake the Greek New years bread
Towards the end of the proofing time, pre-heat the oven to 150C (300F). Bake the dough for 30 minutes until risen a little, golden, and if you carefully slide the bread from the tin and tap it on the bottom, it sounds hollow. Leave to cool completely.
Decorate the Vasilopita bread
While the bread is cooling, toast the almonds in a small frying pan set over a medium heat, and set aside.
To decorate, combine the powdered sugar, vanilla extract and water to make the glaze. Push a coin, wrapped in aluminum foil into the base of the bread so it can be found in one of the slices, then spoon the glaze over the cake, pushing it around with the back of your spoon to make sure it falls into all the coils. Scatter with the toasted almonds, and serve.
Keywords: vasilopita tsoureki, greek new years bread, vasilopita bread recipe