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Catholic Recipe: Brazilian King's Bread

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 3 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 3 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 2-2 1/2 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 2 tablespoons golden raisins
  • 2 tablespoons chopped mixed candied fruit, plus extra for decoration
  • 1 tablespoon chopped Brazil nuts or blanched almonds
  • 1 whole almond, plus additional for decoration
  • 1 tablespoon sugar  Glaze
  • 1 egg, beaten with 1 tablespoon water
  • Details

  • Prep Time: N/A
  • Difficulty: • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: Brazil

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.

Here's a bread Brazilians love with their coffee on Twelfth Night. The finder of a tiny doll enclosed during shaping becomes king or queen of the holiday celebration. You can substitute a lucky almond for your own party.

DIRECTIONS

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, yeast mixture, milk mixture, and egg. Mix thoroughly.

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

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

5. Lightly knead in raisins, candied fruit, and nuts. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat top. Cover; let rise in warm place until double - about 45 minutes. (This is for the second time.)

6. Punch down dough and insert whole almond. Shape a round loaf; make a 4-inch hole in center and push dough into a ring about 8 inches across. Place on greased baking sheet. (Butter outside of a 3- or 4-inch custard dish and set it in the hole.)

7. Let bread rise in warm place for 30 minutes. Make glaze and brush on loaf. Press lightly with whole candied fruits and whole nuts. Sprinkle top with sugar.

8. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven 40-45 minutes or until done. Cool on wire rack.

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