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|EVERY FEW MINUTES|
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|ITALIAN EASTER BREAD|
3 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 cup sugar
1 pkg. active dry yeast
1 tsp. salt
2/3 cup warm milk (120-130°F)
2 tbsp. butter, softened
1/2 cup mixed candied fruit, chopped
1/4 cup blanched almonds, chopped
1/2 tsp. anise seed
Combine 1 cup flour, sugar, yeast and salt in a large mixing bowl. Pour in milk and softened butter. Beat for 2 minutes on medium speed with an electric mixer.
Stir in 2 eggs and 1/2 cup flour. Beat 2 minutes on high speed. Stir in fruit, nuts and anise seed; mix well.
Stir in enough remaining flour to form a soft dough (you do not need to add it all).
Turn dough out onto a lightly floured work surface. Knead until dough is smooth and elastic, about 6-8 minutes. (You may also use an electric mixer's dough hook for 5 minutes, then finish kneading for 1 minute, by hand.)
Place in a bowl greased with olive oil; turn once so that dough is lightly coated in oil.
Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place, free from draft, until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Remaining eggs (uncooked, in shell) may be colored with food coloring, if desired, before using, then sprayed with oil after dry.
Punch dough down. Divide in half; roll each piece into a 24 inch rope. Loosely twist ropes together; place on a greased baking sheet and form into a circle.
Pinch rope 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. Brush top of bread with melted butter.
Cool on a wire rack.
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