Vasilopita is a Greek New Year's Day bread or cake in Greece which contains a hidden coin that gives good luck to the lucky recipient. On January 1, my family celebrates a tradition of cutting the Greek New Year's Bread with a hidden coin.
On New Year's Day, families cut the Greek New Year's Bread to bless the house and bring good luck for the new year. And if there was ever a year to cut this bread, for good luck, it is New Year's Day 2021.
Throughout my childhood, my Aunt Alkisty baked the bread for our family. Then, my cousin, Alexis, took over, bringing my family a Greek New Year's Bread to our home before New Year's Day every year.
Since moving to Arizona, my daughter Kristyn has taken over the tradition by baking our family bread.
Baking the lucky quarter into the Greek New Year's Bread
To hide a coin inside the bread, a coin is slipped into the dough before baking. A piece of bread is sliced for each family member by age from eldest to youngest.
Slices are also cut for various symbolic people or groups, depending on the local and family tradition. For instance, in our family, we slice a piece of bread for the Lord, the house, and then begin with the eldest person in the family to the youngest.
This year, for instance, my sister got married, so her husband was added to our family list.
Because my daughter, Kristyn, is vegan, she transformed my Aunt Alkisty's original recipe to 'veganize it.'
What does Greek New Year's Bread taste like?
Often, Greek New Year's Bread is referred to as a cake because of its sweet taste. Similar to a Hawaain roll, New Year's bread is moist with a sweet flavor. When toasted, it almost tastes like french toast.
My kids, who usually eat most of the loaf themselves, love to toast pieces for breakfast. And oftentimes, they even toast some for dessert.
Even though the New Year's bread tastes fabulous, the real fun is finding out who gets the quarter for a year of good luck.
Who won the quarter for 2021?
VegFest Phoenix March 2020
The last time I saw my mom was in March of 2020, before Covid when she visited from Michigan. Unfortunately, since then, she hasn't seen anyone, including my sister and me.
It seems like yesterday that we went to Vegfest in Phoenix! Originally, my mother planned to move to Arizona to be closer to my immediate family. Due to Covid and her pre-existing condition and age, she stays secluded for health reasons.
My daughter, Kristyn, her husband, Marc, and my mom (Grandma Jo)
This year, we cut the bread at my house, and we were so pleased my mom won the quarter for a year of good luck. Hopefully, 2021 will bring my mom to Arizona, where she belongs, as well as a year of good luck!
How to make vegan Greek New Year's Bread: The Ingredients
As many of you already know, I'm not much of a baker. I love savory food, and sweets don't interest me much. My daughter, on the other hand, is quite the vegan baker.
What do you need to make vegan Greek New Year's Bread?
- Dry active yeast
- Oat milk (or almond milk)
- All-purpose flour
- Flaxseed eggs
- Zest of one and a half oranges
- Orange juice
How to make the Greek New Year's Bread: Kristyn's Oil-Free Vegan Recipe
- Warm 1 cup of oat milk so that it is warm to the touch but not hot. You don't want to kill the yeast. Add the two packets of yeast and one teaspoon of sugar. Stir and let rise for 10-20 minutes.
- Make the flaxseed eggs in a separate bowl and set aside.
- In a large bowl, combine the remainder of the sugar, flour, and salt. Mix to combine.
- Create a well in the middle of the flour mixture. Add the other cup of oat milk (warmed), orange zest, and orange juice into the well.
- Once the flaxseed egg has set and the yeast has doubled in size, add these. Combine by stirring with a wooden spoon.
- Flour a surface thoroughly. Place the dough mixture on the surface and knead for 10 minutes. Add more flour if it gets too sticky.
- Add the dough to a large bowl. Cover with a towel and leave in a warm place for 1-2 hours to rise until it doubles in size.
- Once it doubles, punch the dough down and divide it into two portions.
- Flour your surface again and knead each dough ball for about 5 minutes, adding a quarter wrapped in aluminum foil as you knead.
- Add a little flour to the bottom of 2 9 inch round pans (to prevent sticking)
- Place one ball in each round 9" pans. Put in a warm place and allow to rise for 1 hour.
- Score the bread with a design of your choosing.
- Bake at 375 degrees for 10 minutes. Then turn the temperature and bake for 30 minutes at 350 degrees.
- Let cool for 10 minutes.
Hi! My name is Kathy, I am a retired high school English teacher & vegan enthusiast and blogger. My entire blog is fully plant-based vegan. I truly believe what we eat & how we live determines our health & the preservation of our planet! 🙂