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Catholic Recipe: Dutch King's Bread

    INGREDIENTS

  • 1/2 tablespoon active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon warm water (105-115 degrees)
  • 1/3 cup milk
  • 2 tablespoons sugar
  • 1/4 teaspoon salt
  • 2 tablespoons unsalted butter
  • 1 3/4-2 1/4 cups flour
  • 1 egg
  • 1 whole almond
  • Confectioners' Icing (see link)
  • candied cherries
  • Details

  • Yield: 1 loaf
  • Prep Time: 3 hours
  • Difficulty: • •
  • Cost: $$$$
  • For Ages: 15+
  • Origin: Holland

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.

Want something a little plainer? Try this fragrant Twelfth Night bread, beloved by the Dutch. Contributing to the party atmosphere it creates is the single lucky almond one person will find.

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 in mixing bowl. Mix thoroughly.

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

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

5. Punch down dough. Knead in 1 whole almond.

6. Make a round loaf. Place on greased baking sheet. Cover; let rise in warm place until double - about 45 minutes.

7. Bake in a preheated 350°F oven about 1 hour or until done. Cool on wire rack.

8. Frost with Confectioners' Icing. Decorate with cherries.

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