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Catholic Recipe: Twelfth Night Bread II


  • 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 1/4 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 1/2-2 cups flour
  • 2 egg yolks
  • unsalted butter, melted
  • confectioners' sugar Filling
  • cinnamon sugar
  • 1/2 cup chopped Brazil nuts or walnuts
  • 1/2 cup chopped mixed candied fruit
  • Details

  • Yield: 1 ring
  • Prep Time: 3-3 1/2 hours
  • Difficulty: • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: England

Since Twelfth Night concludes the Christmas holidays, people traditionally have marked it with a big party closing the season. The Twelfth Night revels in many countries feature parties, dancing, and feasting. At the feasts, people often eat a special bread or cake with a bean, coin, or figurine baked in it. The person getting the piece with the good luck token becomes the Twelfth Night King or Queen, leading revelers in their merrymaking.

The holiday also carries solemn religious overtones. It is one of the three major Christian holidays, along with Christmas and Easter. The name Twelfth Night simply reflects its occurrence twelve days after Christmas. But in some places it is known as Feast of the Three Kings because the Three Kings (also known as Wise Men or Magi) are believed to have reached the Christ Child on January 6. And, with emphasis on the religious character of the occasion, Epiphany notes that the holiday marks a special revelation of Jesus's divine nature - the arrival of the three Magi as the first manifestation of Jesus to the Gentiles.


1. Dissolve yeast in warm water. Set aside for 5 minutes. Heat milk, sugar, salt, and butter to warm (105-115 degrees).

2. Combine 1 1/2 cups flour, milk mixture, yeast mixture, and egg yolks in mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.

3. Add enough remaining flour to form a soft dough. Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth - about 10 minutes.

4. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double - about 1 hour.

5. Punch down dough. Roll into rectangle 12 x 14 inches.

6. Spread with melted butter. Sprinkle with cinnamon sugar and with nuts and candied fruit.

7. Roll dough into rope about 11/2 inches across. Shape into a ring and seal ends together. Place on greased baking sheet.

8. Brush with melted butter. Cover; let rise again until almost double - about 45-60 minutes.

9. Bake in a preheated 350 degree oven 30-45 minutes or until done.

10. Cool on wire rack. Dust with confectioners' sugar.

Recipe Source: Festive Bread Book, The by Kathy Cutler, Barron's Educational Series, Inc., 1982
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