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Italian Easter Bread

Ingredients

Makes 1 loaf

3 cups all-purpose flour
cup sugar
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
⅔ cup warm milk (120-130F)
2 tbsp. butter, softened
7 eggs
cup mixed candied fruit, chopped
cup blanched almonds, chopped
tsp. anise seed
Vegetable oil


Method

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 ½ 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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