Kings bread is a bread made in Mexico, and Spain, on January 6th. Traditionally a small porcelain doll or more likely a dried bean is hidden in the bread, symbolising baby Jesus. Whoever gets the bean has to buy the tamales on 2nd of February for Candlemas day.
How do I know this? The book for this months cupcake book club is set in Mexico.
Kelly from american cupcake abroad has started a cupcake book club, the basic premise is to read a book with a foodie theme then bake a delicious treat inspired by the book. You can read all the details here, why don't you join in?
The book has a recipe for each month, many are savoury and there is even a 'recipe' for matches!
I liked the sound of the kings bread and searching around online found many variations, below is my own interpretation.
Makes 1 wreath
2 tablespoons milk
tsp active dried yeast
80g caster sugar + 1 tsp
zest of 2 oranges
tsp mixed spice
2 eggs + 1 for egg wash
tsp vanilla paste or extract
280g plain flour
sliced almonds for decoration.
Gently warm the milk, stir in the yeast and tsp sugar and leave to stand.
Combine the flour, sugar, orange zest and mixed spice into a bowl. Make a well in the centre and add the milk mix, egg, butter and vanilla. Mix the wet ingredients together, I used my hands, and gradually incorporate the flour until a smooth dough is formed.
Knead the dough for 5 minutes, place in a lightly greased bowl, cover with clingfilm and allow to double in size.
Punch the dough down and knead lightly to incorporate the raisins. Roll into a long narrow log and then form a circular wreath.
Place on a greased baking sheet, cover with greased clingfilm and allow to double in size again ~2 hours at room temp. I put mine in the fridge overnight as I wanted it for breakfast.
Preheat the oven to 170C/150C FAN. Brush the bread with egg wash, add the sliced almonds in whatever pattern you so choose. Wash again and place in the preheated oven for 25-30 minutes.
The bread should be golden and sound hollow when tapped underneath.
I enjoyed the book and I enjoyed this bread. In mexico they have it with hot chocolate. I had it split and spread with butter for breakfast and had a cup of tea! Flavour wise it reminds me of a teacake or hot cross bun, though the texture is different.
Any leftovers can be wrapped in foil and kept in a tin, it is still nice the next day warmed up in the oven.