Greek New Year’s Bread (Vasilopita)
This Greek bread is traditionally baked for January 1st, the Greek Orthodox St. Basil’s saint’s day, but even in the days after January 1st, baking it is a fitting way to celebrate good things to come. Cinnamon gives the rich yet fluffy bread spicy warmth, while mastiha, a resinous spice, adds piney notes for depth.
Featured in: My Big Fat Greek New Year’s Bread
- 1 1⁄2 cups whole milk, warmed to 115°
- 1 cup sugar
- 2 tbsp. active dry yeast
- 2 sticks unsalted butter, melted, plus more for greasing
- 3 large eggs, lightly beaten
- 3 cups all-purpose flour, plus more for dusting
- 1 tsp. finely ground 1 tsp. ground cinnamon
- 1 tsp. ground cloves, plus more for sprinkling
- 1 tsp. kosher salt
- In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a hook, combine the milk with the sugar and yeast and let stand until foamy, about 10 minutes. Pour in the melted butter and 2 eggs and whisk to combine. Add the flour, mastiha, cinnamon, cloves, and salt and knead on medium speed until a smooth dough forms, about 8 minutes. Cover the bowl with a kitchen towel and let stand until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
- Heat the oven to 350°. Grease a 9-inch diameter, 3-inch-deep cake pan with butter. Wrap a coin in foil and place at the bottom of the pan. Scrape the dough into the pan and brush the top with the remaining egg. Sprinkle the top with more ground cloves, then bake until golden and cooked through, about 45 minutes. Transfer the pan to a rack and let the bread cool completely before serving.