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Catholic Recipe: Spanish King's Bread


  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water (100° to 110°)
  • 1 Tablespoon orange-flower water or strong tea
  • 1/2 teaspoon grated lemon rind
  • 6 cloves
  • 1/4 pound butter
  • 1 Tablespoon lard or shortening
  • 1/2 cup sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 2 eggs
  • 1 Tablespoon brandy or cognac
  • 1/2 cup milk, scalded and cooled
  • 5 cups unbleached flour
  • Candied fruit slices
  • 1 egg, slightly beaten
  • 1 1/2 Tablespoons sugar, preferably coarse


Yield: 1 bread ring

Prep Time: 4 1/2 hours

Difficulty: • • •

Cost: $$$$

For Ages:11+

Origin: Spain


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Also Called: Roscon de Reyes

This recipe is from Penelope Casas' The Food and Wines of Spain. Almost every country has a version of Epiphany bread or cake, and this is a Spanish version.


Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water. Simmer the remaining 1/2 cup of warm water with the orange-flower water or tea, lemon rind and cloves for 10 minutes, covered. Cool. Discard the cloves. Cream together the butter, lard, sugar and salt. Beat in the 2 eggs, then add the brandy, milk and water-and-lemon mixture and softened yeast. Gradually mix in the flour with a wooden spoon until a soft and slightly sticky dough is obtained. Knead on a floured working surface, adding more flour as needed, about 4 minutes, until smooth and elastic. Place the dough in a large oiled bowl, turn to coat with the oil, cover with a towel and place in a warm spot, such as an unlit oven, to double in size, about 2 hours. Punch down the dough and knead about 5 minutes. Insert a good luck coin. Shape the dough into a large ring, pinching the ends to seal. Place on a lightly greased cookie sheet. Decorate with the fruit slices, pushing them down slightly into the dough. Let the ring sit in a warm spot for about an 1 hour, or until doubled in size. Brush with the egg, which has been mixed with a teaspoon of water, sprinkle with sugar and bake at 350° for 35 to 40 minutes, or until a deep golden brown.

Recipe Source: Recipes for a Holy Family by Holy Family Academy, Manassas, VA, Morris Press, 1999