Easter Anise Loaf

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Ingredients:

12 envelopes active dry yeast
1/4 cup lukewarm milk
1 teaspoon sugar
1/2 cup (1 stick) butter
2/3 cup sugar
1 tablespoon grated lemon rind
3/4 teaspoon aniseed
1 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup scaled milk
4 eggs, beaten
6 cups all-purpose flour
3/4 cups currants
5 hard boiled eggs, dyed red with food coloring

Preparation:

1. In a small bowl proof yeast with 1/4 cup milk and 1 teaspoon sugar.

2. In a large bowl combine butter (softened, cut into bits), sugar, lemon rind, aniseed, and salt. Add scaled milk (while still hot); stir well. Cool mixture to lukewarm. Add yeast mixture. Add 4 eggs and 2 cups flour; beat with electric mixer on medium speed 2 minutes. By hand mix in 2 1/2 cups flour and currants. Dough should be soft and slightly sticky.

3. Turn dough onto well-floured board; knead in 1 1/2 cups flour. Knead 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and satiny. Form dough into ball; place in greased bowl. Turn dough in bowl to grease top. Cover; let rise in warm place 1 1/2 hours or until double in bulk.

4. Punch down dough. Divide into 3 equal pieces; shape each piece into 20-inch rope. Braid 3 dough ropes; form into circle. Press ends together. Place on greased baking sheet. Press dyed eggs into braid at intervals. Brush with melted butter. Cover; let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk.

5. Bake in preheated 325o F oven 45 to 50 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on cake rack.

Yield: 1 loaf.

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