Group 1 Ingredients for Sponge:
10 oz Bread Flour
2 oz Dry Yeast
7 oz Water
Group 2 Ingredients:
14 oz sugar
1 tsp Salt
½ Tbsp Ground Malhep or Anise
½ tsp Cardamom
Zest of 2 Oranges
½ Tbsp Vegetable Oil
Group 3 Ingredients:
½ cup Scalded Milk
1 1/4 cup Whole Eggs
The Sponge (Group 1 mixture), pulled apart into pieces
14 oz Bread Flour
1 cup Melted Butter
Group 4 Finishing:
Hard Boiled Egg (optional, colored red)
Mix ingredients in Group 1. Set aside for 3-6 hours. Once sponge is done, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
Mix ingredients in Group 2. Slowly add ingredients in Group 3 in order, one at a time, slowly, being sure to incorporate the ingredient before adding more. Knead until the dough can be stretched but still holds together.
Divide dough into 4. Roll out each portion into a rope about 30” long, trying not to overwork. Cut into 3 pieces then braid. Bake for 10 minutes. Turn oven down to 325 and bake another 20 minutes.
OPTIONAL: Remove bread from the oven about 10 minutes before it’s done, brush with an egg wash (3 parts beat egg to 1 part water + dash of salt) and sprinkle sliced almonds on top. Return to the oven.
Remove from the oven and gently press a red colored hard boiled egg into the bread, about 1/3rd from the top. Let cool & enjoy!