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Three Kings Bread

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Bread fit for a King (or three) with a hidden surprise!

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Three Kings Bread

Here's what you will need to make it:

  • 1 packet of yeast

  • 3 tablespoons warm water

  • 1 cup milk

  • 1 stick butter

  • 1/2 cup sugar

  • 1 teaspoon salt

  • 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract

  • grated rind of 1 lemon (about 2 teaspoons)

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • 2 eggs

  • 1 egg white

  • 4 cups sifted flour

  • 1/2 cup raisins

  • 1/2 cup chopped pecans

  • 1 teaspoon cinnamon

  • 1 cup confectioner's sugar

  • 2 teaspoons lemon juice

  • 2 teaspoons water

  • 2 small bowls (1 microwave-safe)

  • 1 medium bowl

  • wooden spoon

  • large greased bowl

  • baking sheet

  • aluminum foil

  • a few dried beans

  • clean cloth or towel

  • oven mitts

  • spoon

Here's what you have to do:

1. Three Kings Bread is called Rosca de Reyes in Mexico, where it is eaten on Three Kings Day (January 6th). Hiding inside the bread, or the rosca, is a little doll. Whoever gets the piece with the doll has to cook tamales and atole (kind of like oatmeal) on Candelaria Day or Candlemas on February 2nd.

2. Ask a grown-up to help before you begin. You'll be using an oven and a microwave for this recipe.

3. Wash your hands.

4. In a small bowl dissolve a package of yeast in 3 tablespoons of warm water.

5. Microwave 1 cup of milk with 1 stick of butter for 2 minutes in a microwavable bowl.

6. Combine the milk and butter mixture with 1/2 cup of sugar and 1 teaspoon of salt in a large bowl.

7. Stir it well with a wooden spoon and add the dissolved yeast.

8. Add 1/2 teaspoon of vanilla extract, the grated rind of a lemon, and 2 teaspoons of lemon juice.

9. Beat in 2 eggs plus the white of a third egg. To get just the white from an egg, you need to separate the egg by pouring the egg white from the shell while keeping the yolk in the shell. It can be tricky to do, so ask a grown-up to help you with this part.

10. Stir the entire mixture until the eggs are mixed in completely.

11. Add 2 cups of sifted flour, 1/2 cup of raisins, 1/2 cup of chopped pecans and 1 teaspoon of cinnamon. Stir it up with a wooden spoon until it is smooth.

12. Slowly add another 2 cups of flour. Mix it in well.

13. Sprinkle flour on your work surface. Pick up the dough you've just mixed and place it on the floured surface.

14. Knead the dough by punching in the center of the dough, folding it over and doing it again until it is smooth and not too sticky.

15. Place the kneaded dough in a greased bowl, cover it with a clean towel, and let it sit until it rises to twice its size. (This should take a couple of hours.)

16. Once the dough has risen, shape it into a ring on a baking sheet. It should look like a huge doughnut with a big hole in the center.

17. Now wrap the beans in aluminum foil. Make sure your foil ball is pretty big. Hide the aluminum ball inside the dough.

18. Cover the ring of dough again with the cloth. Let it rise for another 2 hours.

19. Pre-heat the oven to 350 degrees. If you're not allowed to use the oven, ask a grown-up to help with this part.

20. Once the oven temperature reaches 350 degrees, put on oven mitts, remove the clean cloth from your dough and place the baking sheet in the oven. Bake your bread for 40 minutes - until it is golden brown.

21. When it's baked, put on oven mitts to remove the bread from the oven. Let it cool.

22. While the bread is cooling, make some icing by mixing 1 cup of confectioner's sugar, 2 teaspoons of lemon juice and 2 teaspoons of water.

23. Ice your bread by spooning the icing over it. You can eat it this way or you can decorate it with some dried fruit. In Mexico, they use candied cactus for decoration.

24. Buen provecho! (That means "good health" in Spanish.)

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