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Rosca de reyes (Kings Day Bread) Ready to cut
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Rosca de Reyes (Kings Day Bread)

Learn all of the steps for making a traditional Rosca de Reyes (Kings Day Bread) that everyone will enjoy for years to come. 
Course Dessert
Cuisine Mexican
Keyword dia de reyes, holidays, rosca
Prep Time 3 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 3 hours 30 minutes
Servings 12 Pieces
Calories 375kcal

Ingredients

For the Dough

  • 4 1/4 Cup Flour
  • 3/4 Cup Granulated Sugar
  • 1/2 tsp Salt
  • 5 Large Eggs (At Room Temperature) (One will be used as an egg wash to brush onto the Rosca before baking)
  • 2 Egg Yolks At Room Temperature
  • 1 tbsp Vanilla extract
  • Orange Zest from 1 1/2 large oranges
  • 1 1/4 Bars Butter At Room Temperature
  • Leavening Mixture From Below

For the Leavening Mixture

  • 1/2 Cup Milk warm
  • 1 tbsp granulated sugar
  • 1 tbsp flour
  • 1 1/2 tbsp Active Dry Yeast

For the Sugar Paste (Used To Decorate the Rosca)

  • 1/2 Cup Butter At Room Temperature
  • 1/2 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
  • 1/2 Cup Powdered Sugar
  • 1 Egg Yolk At Room Temperature

Decorations

  • 1-5 Baby Jesus Figurines (Use more if you have more people so that they can work together on the tamales)
  • Red or Green Cherries Optional
  • Dried Figs Optional
  • Red or Green Quince Paste Cut Into Long Strips (You can find this in the hispanic aisle at many grocery stores - look for "pasta de membrillo") Optional
  • Candied Orange Peel Optional
  • Granulated Sugar Optional
  • Sugar Paste (Instructions Above)

Instructions

For the Leavening Mixture

  • Add the sugar and the flour in a large bowl with the warm milk, and mix well until there are no lumps remaining. 
  • Add the Active Dry Yeast and mix well with the other ingredients. 
  • Put the bowl in a warm place and let it rest for 10 to 15 minutes until it ferments and has doubled in size. Set aside to use for the dough. 

For the Sugar Paste

  • Add all of the ingredients in a large bowl and mix well until completely integrated and a paste is formed. Set aside.

For the Dough

  • Mix the flour, the sugar,  and the salt in a large bowl and mix well. Once completely mixed, remove the dough to a flat service and form a volcano shape (See image). 
    Rosca de reyes process
  • In the middle section of the dough, add 4 of the eggs and both egg yolks and mix together, adding a little bit of surrounding flour. Add the butter, the vanilla, the orange zest, and the leavening mixture from above, and mix well by hand. 
  • The dough will be very sticky at first, but do not add more flour. Knead by hand for about 20 minutes until an even and smooth dough is formed. (The kneading process can be difficult, so if you don't have enough time, you can add the ingredients to a stand mixer after a few minutes and finish it there). 
  • Once the dough is formed and kneaded, gather it into a large ball and place it in a large, pre-greased bowl. Add additional vegetable oil to the top of the ball so that it doesn't dry out. Cover with plastic wrap so that no air enters and let it rise for 1.5 hours, or until it has doubled in size. 
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, remove it to a flat, floured surface, and knead into a long, even rope (see image above). 
  • On the part of the dough rope that will be placed down on the baking sheet, insert the baby Jesus figurines. Make sure that they do not come out the top, since they need to be hidden when the Rosca is finished. 
  • Once you have added the figurines, place the dough on a pre-greased baking sheet in a large circle or rectangular shape (see images). Let rise for one more hour. 
  • Once the dough has risen for an hour, beat the remaining egg and brush it over the top of all of the dough. This will give the Rosca the shiny look after it has baked and it helps when adding the decorations prior to baking. 
  • Take some of the sugar paste from the instructions above, flatten it and add it to different sections of the Rosca (see image). 
    Rosca de Reyes ready to bake
  • Decorate as desired and bake at 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) for 25 minutes, or until it is golden brown. 
    Let cool and enjoy with hot chocolate or atole. 

Notes

The Baby Jesus Figurines can be hard to find outside of Mexico. I found them on E-Bay. If you can't find them, you can always just use some other item that is oven-safe. The important part is that there is something inside the bread that you can find. 

Nutrition

Serving: 1Piece | Calories: 375kcal | Carbohydrates: 57g | Protein: 9g | Fat: 11g | Saturated Fat: 6g | Cholesterol: 138mg | Sodium: 199mg | Potassium: 121mg | Fiber: 2g | Sugar: 19g | Vitamin A: 415IU | Calcium: 38mg | Iron: 2.7mg