1-hour anise-flavored Moroccan challah
Makes 4 loaves
2 tablespoons active dry yeast
2 cups lukewarm water
1/2 cup vegetable oil
8 cups flour
1 tablespoon salt
1/3 cup sugar
2 tablespoons anise seeds
Extra flour (for sprinkling)
2 extra yolks beaten with 1 tablespoon water (for the glaze)
1 1/2 tablespoons sesame seeds
1. In a large mixing bowl, sprinkle the yeast over the water; stir to dissolve the yeast. Whisk in the 2 eggs, followed by the oil.
2. Add 7 cups of the flour, the salt, sugar, and anise seeds to the yeast mixture. With a wooden spoon, stir the mixture until it comes together like a dough. Turn out onto a lightly floured counter and knead the dough for 5 minutes or until it is smooth and elastic. If the dough seems sticky, knead in more flour 1 tablespoon at a time.
3. Shape the dough into a ball and poke a 1-inch-wide hole completely through the center. Let the dough rest uncovered on the floured counter for 10 minutes.
4. Set the oven at 375 degrees. Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper.
5. Divide the dough into 4 pieces. Roll each piece into a cylinder 20 inches long. Using the palms of your hands, gently flatten a cylinder and roll it into a rope about 2 feet long, pinching shut any seams. Bring the two ends next to each other and twist to form a loose spiral. Pinch the ends together and tuck beneath the loaf. Place on a baking sheet. Repeat with the remaining pieces of dough, placing 2 loaves on each sheet.
6. Use a pastry brush to brush the egg yolk glaze on the loaves. Sprinkle each with sesame seeds.
7. Bake the breads for 10 minutes. Reduce the oven temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the loaves sound hollow when tapped on the bottom. (Total baking time is 40 to 45 minutes.) Adapted from “Quiches, Kugels, and Couscous’’