Pane di Pasqua (Easter Bread)
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 4-1/2 to 5 teaspoons instant yeast
- 1/2 cup milk
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 2 eggs (slightly beaten)
- 4-1/2 to 5 cups all-purpose flour
- 2 teaspoons black anise seeds
- 2 to 3 teaspoons pure anise extract
- 1/2 cup unsalted butter (alternatively you can use 1/4 cup shortening and 1/4 cup butter)
Step 1: Dissolve yeast in warm water.
Step 2: Warm milk and add butter (and shortening, if using), sugar , salt and flavoring. Let cool.
Step 3: Combine yeast mixture and milk mixture.
Step 4: Add slightly beaten eggs and then flour. Knead well.
Step 5: Let raise until double in size about 1 to 2 hours. Punch down and let rise again, about 1 hour.
Step 6: Roll out into desired shapes. Let raise again for another 30 minutes.
Step 7: Bake large loaves in 350 degree oven until brown about 25 to 30 minutes. Bake small rolls for 15 to 20 miutes. Brush with slightly beatened egg whites. Place in oven for a few minutes until dry and shiny.
Variation to the recipe:
Follow the recipe above except substitute the anise for 2 tablespoons of lemon extract, omit the vanilla, and decrease the amount of flour to make a very soft and sticky dough. After baked rolls are cool, ice them with powdered sugar icing - mix powdered sugar milk, and vanilla to make an icing that's has a thin consistency.