Aniseed gives this festive Greek bread its unusual yet pleasing flavor. Everyone in the family runs to the kitchen for a fresh-from-the-oven slice.
- 1 tablespoon active dry yeast
- 1/2 cup warm water (110° to 115°)
- 1/4 cup butter, softened
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 eggs
- 3 tablespoons instant nonfat dry milk powder
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 teaspoon crushed aniseed
- 2-1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 egg
- 1 tablespoon milk
- 2 tablespoons sesame seeds
- 2 tablespoons chopped almonds
- 2 tablespoons sugar
- In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Add the butter, sugar, eggs, milk powder, salt, aniseed and 2 cups flour. Beat on low speed for 3 minutes. Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough.
- Turn onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, turning once to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 1 hour.
- Punch dough down. Turn onto a lightly floured surface; divide into thirds. Shape each into a 15-in. rope. Place ropes on a greased baking sheet; braid. Pinch ends to seal and tick under. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 45 minutes.
- Beat egg and milk; brush over braid. Sprinkle with sesame seeds, almonds and sugar. Bake at 350° for 25-30 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool. Serve warm or at room temperature. Yield: 1 loaf (12 slices).
Originally published as Sweet Sesame Bread in Best of Country Breads 2000, p86
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