Greek Anise Bread
Yield: 1 loaf
- 1 package (1 tablespoon) active dry yeast
- 1/4 cup warm water
- 1/3 cup sugar
- 1/4 cup (1/2 stick) butter
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup milk, scalded
- 1/4 teaspoon oil of anise
- 6 drops oil of cinnamon
- 3 cups flour (approximately), divided
- 1 egg
- 1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon cold water
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
Instructions:Soften the yeast in the water. Place the sugar, butter, and salt in a bowl and pour the hot milk over them. Stir until the butter melts. Cool to lukewarm. Stir in the oil of anise and oil of cinnamon. Add 1 cup of the flour. Mix well. Stir in the egg and softened yeast; beat well. Add enough of the remaining flour to make a soft dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes.
Knead the dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in a lightly oiled bowl, turning once to grease the surface. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1-1/4 hours. Punch down and let rise again until almost doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Turn the dough out onto a floured surface and divide into 3 balls. Cover and let rest for 10 minutes. Roll each ball into a strand about 16 inches long, with tapered ends. Place the strands about 1 inch apart on a greased baking sheet. Braid loosely without stretching the dough, beginning in the middle and working toward either end. Pinch the ends together. Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk, about 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 375°F. Brush the dough with the egg-water mixture and sprinkle with the sesame seeds. Bake for 25 minutes, or until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped.