When I visited in Oaxaca in October 2015, I stayed at the Hotel Maela. Each morning at breakfast, I enjoyed a cup of chocolate and a heaping plate of enfrijoladas con mole negro. Occasionally, the restaurant proprietor would bring a small basket of bread to the table which tasted delightfully of anise. It was sweet and light on the tongue.
This recipe – inspired by the Hotel Maela anise bread – is derived from my mom’s “Anise Orange Nut Rye Bread”. I swapped lemon for the orange, ditched the nuts and the rye, replaced the honey with raw agave, and used a bit of whole wheat and buckwheat flour for the heck of it. In other words, my recipe bears absolutely no resemblance to my mom’s. To be honest, it tastes nothing like the anise bread served at the hotel restaurant eaither. But boy is it yummy…
Anise Agave Bread
- 2 scant tablespoons (or 2 ¼-ounce packages) active dry yeast
- ½ cup warm water about 110 degrees
- 2 cups warm milk about 110 degrees
- 1 cup raw agave
- 1 cup whole wheat flour
- 1 cup buckwheat flour
- ¼ cup vegetable oil
- 2 teaspoons salt
- 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
- 1 tablespoon crushed anise seed
- 4-6 cups unbleached flour
- Additional oil optional
- Sugar optional
In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften.
Add milk, agave, buckwheat flour, whole wheat flour, oil, salt, orange peel, anise seed, and 1 cup unbleached flour. Beat vigorously for two minutes.
Gradually add flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
Put dough into an oiled bowl. Turn to coat the entire ball of dough with oil. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until doubled, about one hour.
Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface. For loaves, shape dough and place on a well-greased baking sheet. For rolls and knots, shape dough and place on well-greased muffin pan and sprinkle liberally with sugar for a yummy treat. Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.
About 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
If you've made loaves from the dough... just before baking, slit the top of each loaf into a diamond pattern.
Bake for 25 minutes, or until the internal temperature of the loaves reaches 190 degrees.
Immediately remove loaves from pans and cool on a rack.
For a soft, shiny crust, brush top of each loaf with oil.