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For the whole story on Rosca de Reyes Bread!
To get started.
Proof the yeast by adding it to the warm water and let sit for about 10 or 15 minutes.
In a large mixing bowl, combine the yeast water, flour, sugar, eggs, butter, salt, cinnamon, anise seed and vanilla extract. Mix until a dough forms. Knead the dough for 5 minutes, then cover and let rise in a warm area until dough is doubled in size, about 2 hours.
Punch dough down and shape into a wreath. You can do this by simply rolling it into a log shape then bending the ends around to form a circle, or you can make three thinner strips and braid them, then put the ends together. The wreath should be about 12-14 inches in diameter. Lift up one area and insert the toy by pushing it up through the bottom. Smooth out any lumps or tears.
Add the dried fruit by laying it across the top and pressing it in slightly. Let it rise until doubled. Brush top with egg wash, sprinkle with sugar and bake for approximately 45 minutes at 350 degrees.
If you want to make it look real good, put something in the middle of it to keep the dough from getting misshapen during cooking. I usually have either a metal 1 cup measuring cup or a sutable ring mold ( metal ) that I put in there to keep it's shape while cooking. DO NOT put anything plastic or nylon in there, since it will melt......
Stuff you will knead
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 1 packet of yeast
- 4 cups flour
- 1 cup sugar
- 4 large eggs, beaten
- 3/4 cup butter, room temperature
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- 1 1/2 teaspoons cinnamon
- 1/2 teaspoon anise seed
- 4 teaspoons vanilla extract
- A small figurine or toy ( preferable something resembling the Christ Child) and something that will not easily melt!
- Candied Fruit (about 2 cups of assorted fruit cut into strips such as figs, orange, lemon, mango or cherries)
- 1 egg beaten (egg wash)
- 1/3 cup sugar (topping)