4 large eggs
1 cup of vegetable oil
½ cup of butter melted in the milk (in Italy we used pork lard)
2 cups of warm milk
2 cups of warm water
1 small bottle of aniseed essence
1 tablespoon of salt
2 cups of sugar
4 tablespoons of dry yeast
2 ½ kg plain flour
2 eggs for glazing
Extra eggs will be needed to shape into the bread.
What to do
Place the flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well. Add the yeast, the sugar, and the water and allow to stand for 5 minutes enabling the yeast to activate.
Stir a little bit of flour among the yeast with a wooden spoon. Add the eggs mixing at the same time.
Pour the milk, oil, butter, and aniseed into the bowl and start to mix with your hands to form a dough. If the dough is too sticky, add a bit more flour. Knead the dough for up to 10 minutes.
Cover the bowl with a tea towel and allow to stand for 30 minutes until the dough has risen. It can be left for up to an hour for better results.
Shape the bread into plaits, placing an egg in the fold and putting it on a baking tray.
Allow rising again for about 30 minutes and up to one hour in a warm place.
In another bowl mix on high speed one or two eggs until fluffy and use this to glaze the loaves, just before putting them into the oven.
Bake in a moderate oven for half an hour or until golden brown.
Makes approximately 12 medium loaves.