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posted: 1/10/2012 11:00 AM

Holiday Bread

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2 packages (.25 ounces each) dry yeast

cup warm water

cup warm milk

cup sugar

1 stick (8 tablespoons) margarine

2 eggs

1 bottle (1 ounce) anise extract

1 tablespoon lemon juice

1 teaspoon salt

5 cups flour

cup chopped dried fruit, optional

Egg wash (1 egg beaten with 1 tablespoon water)

Dissolve yeast in warm water. Let sit 5 minutes in a big bowl.

In a sauce pan, warm the milk, but not to boiling. Stir in margarine, sugar and eggs. Pour warm milk mixture into yeast mixture; stir in anise and lemon juice.

Stir in flour gradually along with salt until the dough is well-combined. Lightly flour counter and knead mixture 5 minutes until you get a nice smooth dough.

Put back into bowl, dust with flour and cover to let rise at least 1 to 2 hours until double in bulk. Punch down and knead a few more times. Cut dough into three equal portions and fit in three standard loaf pans coated with cooking spray. Let dough rise again 1 hour.

Heat oven to 350 degrees.

Bake loaves 20 minutes.

Brush with egg wash and bake 15 minutes more. Remove from pans and cool loaves on wire rack.

Makes three loaves, 12 to 16 slices each.

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