Friday, March 5, 2010

Italian Easter Bread

3 cups all-purpose flour

1/4 cup sugar

1 pkg. active dry yeast

1 tsp. salt

2/3 cup warm milk (120-130°F)

2 tbsp. butter, softened

7 eggs

1/2 cup mixed candied fruit, chopped

1/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped

1/2 tsp. anise seed

Vegetable oil

In a mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt. Add milk and butter; beat 2 minutes on medium. Add 2 eggs and 1/2 cup flour; beat 2 minutes on high. Stir in fruit, nuts and anise seed; mix well. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn onto a lightly floured board; knead until smooth, 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl; turn once. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled; about 1 hour.

If desired, dye remaining eggs (Leave the uncooked); lightly rub with oil.

Punch dough down. Divide in half; roll each piece into a 24 rope. Loosely twist ropes together; place on a greased baking sheet and form into a ring. Pinch ends together. Gently split ropes and tuck eggs into openings. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 30 minutes. Bake at 350°F for 30-35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan; cool on a wire rack.

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