Buccellato (Lucchese Sweet Bread)

April 29, 2013Posted in:

Lucchese Sweet Bread
Makes 1 Loaf

1 package active dry yeast
¼ cup warm water
1 teaspoon plus ½ cup sugar
2 to 2 ½ cups flour
½ teaspoon salt
⅓ cup milk
3 tablespoons butter
2 medium eggs
Vegetable oil, for the bowl and pan
3 tablespoons raisins
3 tablespoons finely chopped mixed candied fruit (optional)
1 tablespoon aniseed

1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast with the warm water and 1 teaspoon of the sugar. Let the mixture stand until it starts to foam, 5 to 10 minutes.
2. In a large bowl, combine the smaller quantity of flour, the ½ cup of sugar, and the salt. Set aside.
3. In a pan, scald the milk. Add the butter, and allow the mixture to cool. Beat in 1 egg.
4. Make a well in the flour mixture and stir in the yeast and the egg mixture (it must be cooler than the yeast.) Mix until the dough forms, then let it rest for 10 minutes. On a lightly floured surface, slowly add the remaining flour, kneading the dough until it doesn’t stick to your hands, about 10 minutes.
5. Lightly oil a large bowl. Place the dough in the bowl and turn to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl loosely with a towel and let the dough rise in a warm place for about 8 hours. Punch it down. Work in the raisins, the candied fruit, and the aniseed. Shape the dough into a loaf and place it on an oiled baking sheet. Make a shallow cut the length of the top of the bread. Cover it, and allow it to rise for another 2 hours.
6. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 250 degrees F. Beat the remaining egg and brush it over the dough. Bake the loaf for 45 minutes, until the top is browned. The bread is done when its internal temperature is between 200 and 210 degrees F. Do not overbake. Cool and slice.