Three Kings Bread Recipe

Esta entrada también está disponible en: Español

My family enjoys Three Kings Bread, also known as a Rosca de Reyes in Spanish, every year on Three Kings Day. But we also enjoy it on the days leading up to the big day as well as for a few days afterward, too.

Rosca de reyes

That just shows you how much we like it. This year I decided to make it at home instead of buying it. So I wanted to share my orange-flavored Three Kings Bread recipe with you today.

You’ll be surprised at how easy it is to make, even if it looks a little fancy. Try it!

Three Kings Day is one of our favorite holidays and we prepare for it days ahead of time in order to have everything ready. Our kids love the holiday, of course, because they get both holiday gifts and a generous slice of Three Kings Bread as well. In fact, it’s the traditional day children receive gifts in Mexico and other countries as well, like Italy.

January 6th is the official Three Kings Day, but since we like the celebration so much we actually eat the Rosca de Reyes on both the 5th and the 6th of January.

And as if that weren’t enough, we share it throughout the week after Three Kings Day, too! We never miss a chance to get together for “la rosca” with family, neighbors, folks from church, schoolmates, you get the idea.

Once you try it dipped in Mexican Hot Chocolate, you’ll want to do it over and over again, too.

RELATED POST: The Symbolism of the Rosca de Reyes 

Homemade

Most years, we go to the bakery to buy a rosca, but this year I decided to make it myself and serve it homemade. It turned out so beautifully, I’m encouraged to make it myself from now on.

The process is simple, but like any other bread recipe, it just requires patience and time.

Three Kings Bread can be made with different flavorings and with a variety of toppings. Orange always tastes great in this bread, so that’s really the only reason I chose it.

One of our friends made a lovely quince paste, so I used it to decorate the rosca, along with cherries and slices of dried fruit.

I recommend reading the entire recipe once through before getting started. It will help the process go smoothly.

RELATED POST: Three Kings Cupcakes with Candied Fruit

Orange Three Kings Bread Recipe (Rosca de Reyes)

Prep time 10 minutes – Start to finish 4.5 hours – Includes 2.5 resting time

Ingredients

For the Bread

  • 1 (7 gr) active yeast packet
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup + 1 teaspoon sugar
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups flour + a little more to dust working space
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons butter, softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil or canola to oil bowl

For Decoration

  • 1/2 cup confectioner sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter, softened
  • 1/2 cup flour, plus 1-2 tablespoons if needed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • Cherries, dried fruit, nuts, etc.

You will also need

  • 1 large baking sheet
  • Food grade plastic wrap
  • A kitchen brush
  • 1 cooling rack
  • 1 bread scraper
  • Plastic dolls for Rosca de Reyes (optional)

Note: I made the bread or rosca without the help of a mixer, but if you have one with a bread hook, by all means, use it. It will save you time and effort.

Step by Step Instructions

Mix yeast, water, and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a bowl. Set aside in a warm place for 15-20 minutes or until it’s foamy.

On a clean surface, make a “well” in 3 1/2 cups of flour. In its center, place sugar, salt, butter, and eggs. Mix until combined. The mix will be very sticky and will take you approx 10 minutes.

Tip: I learned this from my husband. Use just one hand to mix the ingredients, keep your other hand clean for adding more flour, or using the bread scrapper to integrate into the dough.

When the yeast mixture has doubled in volume add to the dough and keep kneading.

Make another well with the dough and pour in the warm milk and orange zest. Have another 1/2 cup of flour nearby to add to the dough, if and as needed.

Knead the dough, adding a little bit of flour at a time until it starts to separate from your fingers. The dough will be soft, but moist, elastic and a little sticky. It will take you approx 15-20 minutes.

I ended up using just 1/2 of the extra flour for a total of 3 3/4 cups. Bread reacts to the weather and altitude so it will probably be different for you.

Oil a large glass bowl and place the dough inside. Oil the top of the dough as well and cover with plastic.

Set aside in a warm place free of drafts until the dough doubles in size. Depending on the weather this may take 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Be patient as the yeast works its magic, let it rise, it will bring the bread a deeper flavor.

Decorations

While it is resting, prepare the decorations. Mix sugar, butter, and flour to form a paste. Cover with plastic and put it in the fridge. Cut dried fruit in strips, dry out cherries with a paper towel.

Once the dough has doubled in size, place on a floured surface, knead for a few minutes and roll it into a long log.

Grease a large baking sheet and carefully place the dough on top forming an oval wreath. Take one of the ends of the dough and form a “hole,” take the other end and fit them together (See photo).

Push the dough until both ends are “glued” together.

Brush the mixture of egg yolk and milk on the dough to give it a nice egg wash. This will give it a nice, shiny, brown finish during baking.

Take the sugar-flour-butter mixture and divide it into 6 pieces. Take one of the pieces (called a “costrón” in Spanish), make a flat oval and place it on top of the bread starting on top of the union of the dough to “hide it,” repeat with the other 5 pieces.

Sprinkle sugar on top of the “costrones“, and decorate the bread with the cherries and candied fruit.

Cover with plastic and let it rest for 45 minutes in a warm place and let it rise again. See the picture below.

And Bake!

Twenty minutes before the end of the 45 minutes of resting, pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and bake for 30-45 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.

Transfer to a rack to cool down.

Once the bread is completely cooled, turn it over and introduce the plastic dolls randomly, if you choose. (Do this at your own risk, of course). To learn more about the dolls and the meaning behind the bread, please see my post on the symbolism of the rosca de reyes.

Serve to your family and friends with Mexican hot chocolate, atole, or Mexican ponche.

¡Felíz Día de Reyes!

Print the Three Kings Bread Recipe

Rosca de reyes
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Orange Three Kings Bread Recipe (Rosca de Reyes)

Prep Time10 mins
Cook Time1 hr 50 mins
Resting Time2 hrs 30 mins
Total Time4 hrs 30 mins

Ingredients

For the Bread

  • 1 (7 gm) active yeast packet
  • 1/4 cup warm water
  • 3/4 cup sugar + 1 teaspoon 
  • 3 1/2 – 4 cups flour + a little more to dust working space
  • 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 10 tablespoons butter softened
  • 3 eggs
  • 1/4 cup warm milk
  • Zest of one orange
  • 1-2 tablespoons olive oil or canola to oil bowl

For Decoration

  • 1/2 cup confectioner sugar
  • 1/2 cup unsalted butter softened
  • 1/2 cup flour plus 1-2 tablespoons if needed
  • 1 egg yolk
  • 1 teaspoon milk
  • Cherries, dried fruit, nuts, etc.

Utensilios

  • 1 big baking sheet
  • Food grade plastic wrap
  • A kitchen brush
  • 1 cooling rack
  • 1 bread scraper
  • Plastic dolls for Rosca de Reyes (optional)

Instructions

Step by Step Instructions

  • Mix yeast, water, and 1 teaspoon of sugar in a bowl. Set aside in a warm place for 15-20 minutes or until it’s foamy.
  • On a clean surface, make a “well” in 3 1/2 cups of flour. In its center, place sugar, salt, butter, and eggs. Mix until combined. The mix will be very sticky and will take you approx 10 minutes.
  • Tip: I learned this from my husband. Use just one hand to mix the ingredients, keep your other hand clean for adding more flour, or using the bread scrapper to integrate into the dough.
  • When the yeast mixture has doubled in volume add to the dough and keep kneading.
  • Make another well with the dough and pour in the warm milk and orange zest. Have another 1/2 cup of flour nearby to add to the dough, if and as needed.
  • Knead the dough, adding a little bit of flour at a time until it starts to separate from your fingers. The dough will be soft, but moist, elastic and a little sticky. It will take you approx 15-20 minutes.
  • I ended up using just 1/2 of the extra flour for a total of 3 3/4 cups. Bread reacts to the weather and altitude so it will probably be different for you.
  • Oil a large glass bowl and place the dough inside. Oil the top of the dough as well and cover with plastic.
  • Set aside in a warm place free of drafts, until dough doubles in size, depending on the weather this may take 1 1/2 to 2 hours. Be patient as the yeast works its magic, let it rise, it will bring a deeper flavor.

Decorations

  • While it is resting, prepare the decorations. Mix sugar, butter, and flour to form a paste. Cover with plastic and put it in the fridge. Cut dried fruit in strips, dry out cherries with a paper towel.
  • Once the dough has doubled in size, place on a floured surface, knead for a few minutes and roll it into a long log.
  • Grease a large baking sheet and carefully place the dough on top forming an oval wreath. Take one of the ends of the dough and form a “hole,” take the other end and fit them together.
  • Push the dough until both ends are “glued” together.
  • Brush the mixture of egg yolk and milk on the dough to give it a nice egg wash. This will give it a nice, shiny, brown finish during baking.
  • Take the sugar-flour-butter mix and divide it into 6 pieces. Take one of the pieces (called a “costrón” in Spanish), make a flat oval and place it on top of the bread starting on top of the union of the dough to “hide it,” repeat with the other 5 pieces.
  • Sprinkle sugar on top of the “costrones”, and decorate the bread with the cherries and candied fruit.
  • Cover with plastic and let it rest for 45 minutes in a warm place and let it rise again. See the picture below.

And Bake!

  • Twenty minutes before the end of the 45 minutes of resting, pre-heat your oven to 325 degrees F (160 degrees C) and bake for 30-45 minutes or until cooked through and golden brown.
  • Transfer to a rack to cool down.
  • Once the bread is completely cooled, turn it over and introduce the plastic dolls randomly, if you choose. (Do this at your own risk, of course). To learn more about the dolls and the meaning behind the bread, please see my post on the symbolism of the rosca de reyes.
  • Serve to your family and friends with Mexican hot chocolate, atole, or Mexican ponche.
Course: Breads
Cuisine: Mexican
Keyword: Rosca de Reyes, Three Kings Day
Author: Silvia

Notes

Note: I made the bread or rosca without the help of a mixer, but if you have one with a bread hook, by all means, use it. It will save you time and effort.

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