Tuesday, April 24, 2012

Anise Braid / Anise Bread

I grew up eating quite a few delicacies from Iyengar Bakery in my teens. One of the favorites is the 'Om Biscuit' as it was called which are nothing but crusty bread sticks that are a little sweeter flavored with anise seeds. I still remember the taste of those bread sticks. I was thinking about that when I decided to make this bread. I used a regular brioche recipe to start with and since I didn't want to use butter, used oil instead. There are eggs in there which make it rich. You could replace it with yogurt without compromising the taste or texture. These are great as is, great toasted and even greater if you made pudding or french toast out of it.
One Year Back - Whole Wheat Jalapeno Focaccia
Two Years Back - Spicy Mint Sourdough Muffins (Egg less)
Ingredients: (Makes two braids or two 9 X 5 loaves)
Active dry yeast - 2 1/4 tsp
Warm water - 1/2 cup
Sugar - 1/4 cup
Salt - 1 1/4 tsp
Eggs - 3 large (Room temperature)
Oil - 1/2 cup
All purpose flour - 3 1/2 cups - 4 cups
Anise seeds - 1 tsp (You could use more if you like the flavor up to 1 TBSP)

Egg Wash:
1 Egg yolk beaten with 1 TBSP milk

Topping:
Pearl Sugar - 2 TBSP (optional)

Method:
In a bowl, take warm water. Add one TBSP of sugar to it and add yeast. Let it sit for 10 minutes or until frothy. In another bowl, whisk together remaining sugar, eggs, oil, salt. Slowly add the yeast mixture to it and start adding flour slowly. Add anise seeds along with the flour. When you have made a soft dough, start kneading on a lightly floured surface. Add more flour if needed to get a smooth, silky but not sticky dough. Knead for 10 - 12 minutes or until really elastic. Place it in an oiled bowl and turn to coat the bottom. Cover and let rise for an hour or until double in bulk.
Punch down and refrigerate for 3 hours at least or up to 24 hours. Remove from the refrigerator and let it sit for about 30 minutes. Punch down and divide the dough into two parts. If you are going to braid the dough like I did, divide each part into three. Or you could just shape it into a loaf. Grease two 9 X 5 pans. Place the braids or shaped loaves in the pan. Cover with an oiled plastic wrap and let it rise for an hour or until almost double. This one might not double easily, but will have significant rise in the oven. Towards the end of the rise time, preheat the oven to 350 F. Just before baking, brush with egg wash and sprinkle pearl sugar if using. Bake for 30 - 35 minutes or until brown on the top and bottom sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from the pan and let it cool completely on the wire rack.
Notes: 
I did not have any pearl sugar on hand. I used the small sugar balls we get in Indian grocery store and crushed them. You could use raw sugar instead.
This is my entry for the Blogging Marathon started by Srivalli. Also sending this to Yeastspotting.

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37 comments:

  1. Very amazing looking bread loafs. I bought a loaf of bread from Anderson Bakery the other day and yours could easily be on their shelves.

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    1. Srimathi, Thanks. You are very kind.

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  2. Bread looks perfect..awesome presentation!!
    Spicy-Aroma

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  3. Perfectly baked bread..love the glossy effect.

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  4. This looks so good and I like that you have used anise seeds!

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  5. lovely loaf..tell me champa..if making eggless and using yogurt..what wud be the measurement?
    the gloss is absolutely stunning!!

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    1. Vaishali,
      1/4 cup thick yogurt for every egg. So, 3/4 cup in total. You will not get the gloss unless you use egg wash. Pretty close one to that is if you brush them with heavy cream to which a little sugar is added before baking.

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  6. love the texture of this bread. looks soft. planning to make your tangzhong bread with part whole wheat flour.

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  7. Braids looks so pretty,love the texture..yum

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  8. Lovely loafs and beautiful clicks!

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  9. Champa, another wonderful creation by U. U r smart u make it with eggs, so u don't eat it, means less work out...:).....I might try this for making french toast....will let U know once I try....

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    1. Spice, you understand me very well. Half the loaf kids ate over two days. Remaining went to two neighbors and my daughter took the rest for her teacher. So, we don't have it anymore in the house.

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  10. Marvellous bread, simply love the way ur braided ur bread..beautiful loaves..

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  11. looks perfectly baked. I will go the eggless way.

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  12. Perfectly braided and baked,looks tempting..nice presentation..

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  13. lovely gloss, i know it calls for egg...loved the knotted look, will try for sure

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  14. looks fabulous....the shine, shape and everything!

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  15. Looks perfect! A beautifully braided Challah bread is a thing of beauty.. would hate to break it..

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  16. Perfectly baked bread. Looks amazing. Nice clicks.

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  17. Liked the lovely glaze on your bread.

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  18. I love the fragrance and flavour of anise. Wonderful looking bread.

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  19. Love that shape and gloss on top!!!

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  20. well baked!! I wanna perfect my baking skills too..isnt it awesome to bake so professionally!!kudos

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  21. Loaf looks awesome. I loved the shine on the bread...

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  22. I love the glaze...I guess egg wash gives a more shiny glaze than its substitute. I have successfully glazed with milk or sugar but the glaze is not as shiny as this one. Nice soft bread ...I should try it sometime.

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  23. I totally agree with others, it looks like professionally done. And its making me hungry now!

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  24. Nice color on the bread. Champa, what difference does it make when we use egg white wash as opposed to yolk wash. Is it a deeper color for the yolk?

    Vardhini
    CooksJoy

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    1. Vardhini,
      Actually the fat in yolk is what gives the nice color, You either use the whole egg or yolk. When egg white is used, it is always used with some milk which enhances the color. You can use water when you use yolk or whole egg.

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  25. It is a gorgeous bread loaf! Your bread collection amazes me! The braided bread is perfectly perfect!

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  26. Bread looks gorgeous, beautiful loaf..., nicely braided...

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  27. The braided bread looks so perfect Champa. Thanks for giving measurement the yogurt to be replaced for eggs.Hope I get brave enough to come out of yeast phobia to try this...

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