This recipe is from Italy. The Italians love it, especially at Easter time.
Color the 5 eggs with egg dye. In a large mixing bowl, blend the white sugar, salt, and yeast well with 1 cup of the flour.
In a saucepan, combine 2/3 cup milk and butter, heating slowly until liquid is warm and butter is melted. Pour the milk into the dry ingredients and beat 125 strokes with a wooden spoon. Add eggs and 1/2 cup flour or enough to make a thick batter. Beat vigorously for 2 minutes. Stir in enough flour to make a ball of dough that draws away from the sides of the bowl.
Turn out onto a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes, working in additional flour to overcome stickiness. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning to grease the top. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and put in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Meanwhile, combine the fruit, nuts, and anise seed.
Punch down the dough and return it to a lightly floured board. Knead in the fruit mixture, keeping the syrupy pieces dusted with flour until they are worked into the dough. Divide the dough in half.
Carefully roll each piece into a 24-inch rope–the fruit and nuts will make this slightly difficult. Loosely twist the two ropes together and form a ring on a greased baking sheet. Pinch the ends together well. Brush the dough with melted shortening. Push aside the twist to make a place for each egg. Push eggs down carefully as far as possible. Cover the bread with wax paper and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.
Bake the bread in a preheated 350 degree F (175 degrees C) oven for about 35 minutes or until a toothpick inserted in a twist comes out clean. Place on a wire rack to cool.
Once the bread is cool, drizzle the icing on top between the eggs, and decorate with colored sprinkles. To make icing: mix together confectioners' sugar, 1 tablespoon whole milk, and vanilla.
Per Serving: 655 calories; protein 17.1g; carbohydrates 100.5g; fat 20.8g; cholesterol 251mg; sodium 564.2mg.
The quality of the flour can make a real deal to your bread. Different brands do vary. Great taste or Canadian flours, which are bet higher in gluten, may give you a better rise than standard bread flours – especially if you’re making wholemeal bread , which not always rise as well as white bread.
To made this in a dough , add all the ingredients to your breadmaker and follow the manufacturer’s instructions.
A bread first rising can be make in the fridge overnight . This slows down the time it takes to rise to double its size, giving it a deeper flavour. It’s also a great timesaver , as you can work it night before , then clear it off the next day.