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Italian Anise Bread


"My family has been making this Easter bread for generations. It's origins are in a family bakery owned by my great-great aunts off the boat from Italy. My mom and I are the only remaining individuals who know how to make this, so I'm posting it hoping to share it with others. It is made the old world way, so it is not quick, but it is delicious and well worth the work and wait."
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10 h servings 448 cals
Original recipe yields 20 servings (6 loaves)

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  • Prep

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  1. Combine flour, sugar, and anise seed together in a very large bowl; create a well in the center.
  2. Mix warm water and yeast together in a bowl. Let stand until the yeast softens and begins to form a creamy foam, about 10 minutes.
  3. Beat warm milk, eggs, and butter together in a bowl; stir into yeast mixture. Add milk mixture to the well in the flour mixture. Knead flour-milk mixture using your hands until dough and your hands are no longer sticky. Cover dough with a clean cotton cloth and let rise, 8 hours to overnight.
  4. Grease and flour 6 loaf pans.
  5. Punch dough down and divide into 6 portions. Mold each portion into a round shape and place each in a prepared pan. Cover pans and let rise for 1 hour more.
  6. Preheat oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C).
  7. Bake in the preheated oven until bread is cooked through, 45 to 50 minutes.


  • Cook's Note:
  • This recipe is traditionally made in the spring with low humidity.
  • My grandmother used to cover the dough with light winter coats/blankets to create extra warmth, but not heavy enough to weigh down on rising dough.
  • Grease and flour 6 pans. I've used everything from 9-inch round pans to standard bread pans. You need 6, so you'll need to get creative!

Nutrition Facts

Per Serving: 448 calories; 8.1 g fat; 81.4 g carbohydrates; 11.9 g protein; 89 mg cholesterol; 73 mg sodium. Powered by the ESHA Research Database © 2018, ESHA Research, Inc. All Rights Reserved

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Read all reviews 2
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Great taste! Easy to make, even if the rising of the yeast dough takes a while! I brushed butter on top[ as soon as this bread came out of the oven. Wonderful recipe!

I'm going to try it but nobody is making this with 5 tablespoons of anise seed. surely not black anise which last I purchased was $70 an ounce.