The dough was soft and a little challenging to work with at first, I thought. But, the flavor was incredible! The recipe makes 4 loaves, but I only needed to make 3, so I used the rest of the dough to make cinnamon rolls for my sweetie... He LOVES his cinnamon rolls. (I took out a portion of the dough before adding the anise... licorice and cinnamon together might be a little too over the top for his taste buds.)
This is a sweet bread, made even sweeter with the addition of a sugar glaze and sprinkles. The anise seed is optional, but I'm glad I added it. The "licorice" taste paired beautifully with the sweet bread.
Out of sprinkles? No worries! I saw another variation that used pearl sugar instead of the glaze/sprinkles. That would be good too, but seeing that I had sprinkles...well, the rest is history.
You know what else is history? These loaves... Don't just take my word for it. Make a batch yourself and see how quickly they disappear. If you need to see Nutrition Facts, hop on over to my recipage, here.
Buona Pasqua! (Or, Happy Easter!)
Prep Time: 20 minutes (+3 hours to rise)
Cook Time: 25 minutes
Ingredients (4 loaves)
- 2-1/4 tsp active dry yeast
- 1-1/4 c. scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
- pinch of salt
- 1/3 c. butter, softened
- 2 eggs, beaten
- 1/2 c. white sugar
- 3-4 c. all purpose (or bread) flour
- 1 Tbsp melted butter (for brushing)
- 1/4 c. confectioners sugar
- 1-2 tsp water
- In the bowl of a stand mixer, combine yeast, warm milk, sugar, butter and salt. Add eggs, anise seed (if using) and 2 cups of the flour. Mix until a smooth batter forms.
- Switch to using a bread hook, or continue with the recipe manually. Slowly add more flour (1/2 cup at a time) until the batter is no longer sticky. Knead until smooth and elastic (dough will be soft, but shouldn't be sticky).
- Place dough in an oiled bowl and turn once to coat the top. Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place until doubled, approximately 2 hours.
- Punch down and divide into 12 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a rope, approximately 1/2 inch wide and 14 inches long. Pinch the top of 3 ropes together and braid them. Pinch the bottom of the braid together, then bend the braid around and press the ends together to form a circle.
- Transfer each circle to a parchment lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining sections.
- Cover with a towel and let rise in a warm place for another hour.
- Preheat oven to 350*F. Brush the tops of each loaf with melted butter. Bake for 20-25 minutes, or until golden brown.
- Remove to a wire rack to cool. Meanwhile, stir together confectioners sugar and water to make a glaze. Brush the cooled loaves with glaze and top with sprinkles.
- Serve immediately, or wrap cooled loaves in plastic wrap until ready to devour.
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