Posted by: Melanie Mathos | January 1, 2010

Vasilopita “New Year’s Bread”

The vasilopita tradition was started in the last half of the fourth century

So, when I called my mom to get the recipe for her yummy New Year’s Bread, I was shocked when I learned that it would take all day to make. Like my mom said “You can’t make bread in an hour.” Vasilopita (Βασιλόπιτα) is a traditional New Year’s Day bread or cake in Greece, which contains a hidden coin that gives good luck to the receiver. (Gary got the coin for 2010 – Καλή τύχη Kyriakos!) 

Source: Mom


  • 2 Tbl. Dry Yeast (I used traditional yeast, but quick-rise would speed things up.)
  • 1/2 tsp. Cinnamon, anise, and nutmeg
  • 1 bay leaf
  • 4 cloves
  • Optional: 1/4 tsp. malhep and 4 grains mastiq
  • 7 cups flour
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 tsp. salt
  • 1/2 cup milk
  • 1/2 cup orange juice
  • 1 stick butter
  • 4 eggs (1 for brushing on top)
  • Sesame seeds
  • 1 small coin, wrapped in foil
  • Olive oil


  • Heat oven to 200 for five minutes and turn off
  • Dissolve yeast in 1/4 cup warm water
  • Put flavorings in 1/2 cup water and boil (I used my briki for this)
  • Set aside to steep and cool
  • Mix flour, sugar and salt in a large bowl
  • Heat milk, remove from heat and add butter; allow to cool slightly
  • Make hole in middle of flour mixture and mix in yeast, three eggs, 1/2 cup orange juice, milk and flavored water (minus bay leave and cloves)
  • Kneed dough until smooth – about 10 – 15 minutes 
  • Place in an oiled bowl
  • Cover with a towel dampened with hot water
  • Place in slightly warm oven and let dough rise until doubled (four hours for traditional yeast.)
  • Punch dough down and kneed for five minutes
  • Form one large or two small dough ball and add in coin(s)
  • Form loaves – circle, long or braided
  • Brush with egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds
  • Optional: decorate with blanched almonds forming the new year
  • Set aside and let rise for two hours
  • Preheat oven to 350′ and bake for 1 hour for one large loaf or about 30 minutes for 2 loaves. (Until golden brown.)


  • At midnight on New Year’s Eve, or on the morning of New Year’s Day, the senior member of the family traditionally cuts the bread.
  • The first slice is cut for Jesus, the second slice is cut for the house, and then the family and guests by age.
  • Whoever gets the coin recieves good luck in the new year!
  • Be sure to try this bread toasted with butter… Mmmmmm!


  1. The Vasilopita recipe is …..very…..very….very tasty.

    To githoori pi sto potami na fie Vasilopita ya ti yorti tou.


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