Greek New Year Sweet Bread -- Vassilopita Recipe
2 packages, dry yeast
3/4 C. warmed milk
5 C. flour
1 t. salt
3/4 C. sugar
grated Lemon rind
1/2 C. melted butter
Dissolve yeast in warm milk. Add 2 cups of the flour, and beat batter until smooth. Cover and set in a warm place for about an hour.
Beat eggs, salt, sugar and lemon rind over hot water. Stir mixture into batter; add remaining flour and knead, adding gradually the melted butter, until smooth and elastic. Cover with a cloth and let it rise in a warm place until it has doubled its size - about 2 hours. Knead dough and put in a buttered deep round baking dish, about 12 inches in diameter. Cover and leave in a warm place until almost doubled. Brush with lightly beaten egg and sprinkle with sesame seeds, or garnish with blanched halved almonds. Bake in a moderate oven for about 45 minutes. When cold, make a small cut underneath with a knife and insert the gold or silver coin.
New Year's Bread (Vassilopitta) is prepared for New Year's Eve. It is served at midnight and the person who finds the coin will have luck throughout the year.