There is always something new to learn everyday.
Such is the case for this bread prepared during the Feast of the Epiphany or more commonly known as the Visit of the Magi or Three Kings Day falling on every 6th day of January.
More widely celebrated in the Spanish and Latin American worlds, in Mexico tradition requires a doll be placed in the dough before it is baked so whoever gets to find it will have to pay for the cost of the celebration and must eat tamales.
Rosca de Reyes is an enriched type of bread - chiefly comprised of butter, sugar, flour and eggs. What makes it different from its distant relatives, such as brioche and ensaymada, is the thin layer of sweetened paste that leaves a crisp skin on the surface after baking.
In my opinion, the bread tastes almost like the Italian Panettone - however, it is much less sweet and the texture is on the drier side with a more open crumb.
The recipe I used is from the King Arthur Flour website (click here). I guarantee its success!
Instead of making a complicated form and filling it with a generous amount of glazed mixed fruits, I simply formed the dough into a ring and added just a handful of the glazed fruits. You may totally omit the glazed fruits if you fancy a more neutral flavor. During the final stage of proving, I placed a piece of silicon muffin cup in the center to keep the middle hole uniformly round and open. I also left it there until the baking is done.
When substituting with another brand of flour, please use only unbleached. Bleached flour is weaker and results may be unsatisfactory (or you may have to use more than specified).
As for the sweet paste, follow the recipe below:
In a mixing bowl, mix together 85 grams of margarine with 95 grams of icing sugar until smooth. Add in 1 piece of egg yolk and mix well. Lastly, blend in 95 grams of sifted all purpose flour and mix on low speed just until combined.
Flatten into a disc and, wrapped in cling film, place in the chiller until completely cooled down and set.
Roll the paste in between wax or parchment paper until no less than 1/8 inch thin. Cut into desired size or shape.
Rosca de Reyes is traditionally enjoyed with a cup of thick hot chocolate.