Italian Easter Bread

Ingredients

  • 2 and 3/4 to 3 and 1/4 cups unsifted all-purpose flour
  • 1/4 cup sugar
  • 1 teaspoon salt
  • 1 package active dry yeast
  • 2/3 cup whole milk
  • 2 tablespoons margarine
  • 2 eggs, at room temperature
  • 1/2 cup mixed candied fruits*
  • 1/2 cup chopped sliced almonds
  • 1/2 teaspoon Anise seeds*
  • melted butter, for brushing on top
  • 5 colored raw eggs
  • Confectioners' Sugar Glaze
  • colored sprinkles

Instructions
  1. In a large bowl combine 1 cup flour, sugar, salt and un-dissolved yeast. Heat milk and 2 tablespoons of margarine in a saucepan over low heat just until warmed and margarine melts.
  2. Add to dry ingredients and beat for 2 minutes on medium speed scraping bowl occasionally.
  3. Add eggs and 1 and 3/4 cup flour. Beat at high speed 2 minutes. Stir in enough additional flour to make a soft dough. Turn onto floured board. Knead for 8 to 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl and turn to grease top. Cover, and let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in size in a warm place.
  4. Punch dough down and turn out onto a floured board. Knead in fruits, almonds, and anise seed. Divide in half. Roll each half into a 24-inch rope. Twist ropes together loosely. Form into a ring on a baking sheet. Brush with melted butter and place the raw, colored eggs into the spaces in between. Cover and let rise until doubled about one hour.
  5. Bake at 350 degrees for 30-35 minutes until golden brown on top. Allow to cool.
  6. Whisk 2 teaspoons of milk into the confectioner's sugar in a medium size bowl. It should be thin in consistency. You can add a little more milk if needed or confectioners' to reach desired consistency.
  7. Glaze top of bread and decorate with sprinkles. Store in refrigerator, bring to room temperature before serving.

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