St. Joseph's Day Bread
(Makes 1 loaf - approx. 18-inches in length)
2/3 cup warm milk, 105 - 115 degrees F.
1 (1/4-ounce) package dry active yeast
3 cups bread flour, divided
1/4 cup sugar
1 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons melted butter
1/2 teaspoon anise seed or 1 teaspoon anise extract
Egg wash: 1 egg mixed with 1 tablespoon water
Stir the yeast into the warm milk and allow to rest for 10 minutes.
Pour the yeast mixture into the bowl of an electric mixer. Add 1 cup of flour,
sugar, salt, and melted butter. Beat the mixture with the paddle attachment for
2 minutes. Add the eggs, anise seed or extract, and another cup of flour.
Beat for 2 more minutes.
Change from the paddle attachment to a dough hook. Add the remaining flour,
1/4 cup at a time, until the dough starts to come together. You may not need
to add all of the flour. Then allow the dough hook to knead the dough on
medium for 3 to 4 minutes. Transfer the dough to a greased bowl. Cover and
allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.
Punch the dough down and divide it into 2 equal pieces. Roll each piece into a
20 - 22-inch rope. Place the 2 ropes on a parchment lined baking sheet.
Loosely twist the ropes together, tucking the ends under. Cover and allow to
rise until doubled in size, about 30 - 40 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Brush the loaf with the eggwash and sprinkle liberally with sesame seeds.
Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown. Transfer to a wire rack to cool.