Anise Lemon Pecan Bread

Anise Lemon pee-KAHN Bread. Not PEE-can. As my Mom, a proper Southern Belle, used to say to her New England friends… a PEE-can is what you put under your bed at night. Silly Yankees.

This bread is very loosely based on my Mom’s Anise Orange Nut Rye Bread. I swapped out the orange for lemon, walnuts for pecans, rye flour for red fife flour – and I started the recipe with a sponge.

The sponge is made with the Red Fife Flour. I’d like to say that I did this to honor our neighbors to the north in celebration of Canada Day (Red Fife Flour has a history in Canada). But I am not that thoughtful. Hey look – there’s even a song about it…

I made this bread while my aunt Martha and cousin Laura were up for a visit. They both had really nice things to say about the recipe (although it sounded a lot like “Mmmmh hhhmmmh hmmhnmmn” because their mouths were full – just joking). But really, I think this is one of the best tasting breads to come out my oven in many moons. Laura pointed out that the taste experience starts even before the bread gets to your mouth because the hint of anise reaches your nose first.

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Anise Lemon Pecan Bread

Anise Lemon pee-KAHN Bread. Not PEE-can. As my Mom, a proper Southern Belle, used to say to her New England friends… a PEE-can is what you put under your bed at night. Silly Yankees.

Prep Time 2 hours
Cook Time 30 minutes
Total Time 2 hours 30 minutes
Servings 2 loaves
Author Mark Oppenneer

Ingredients

For the sponge

  • 1 scant tablespoon (or 1 ¼-ounce package) active dry yeast
  • 2 cups warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 2 cups red fife flour

For the bread

  • 1 scant tablespoon (or 1 ¼-ounce package) active dry yeast
  • ½ cup warm water (about 110 degrees)
  • 2 tablespoons raw agave
  • 2 tablespoons pecan oil
  • 2 teaspoons salt
  • 1 tablespoon grated lemon peel
  • 1 tablespoon crushed anise seed
  • ½ cup finely chopped pecans
  • 2½ - 3½ cups unbleached flour

Instructions

For the sponge

  1. Combine yeast, water and flour in a large bowl, and beat vigorously for two minutes. Cover tightly with plastic wrap and let rise from 8 to 24 hours at room temperature. This sponge has the consistency of a cake batter.

For the bread

  1. In a large bowl, stir yeast into water to soften. Add sponge, agave, oil, salt, lemon peel, anise, and pecans. Beat vigorously for two minutes.

  2. Gradually add unbleached flour, ¼ cup at a time, until the dough begins to pull away from the side of the bowl.
  3. Turn dough out onto a floured work surface. Knead, adding flour a little at a time, until you have a smooth, elastic dough.
  4. 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.
  5. Turn the dough out onto a lightly oiled work surface and divide in half. Shape each half into a loaf and place into well-greased loaf pans. (I made six large muffins and three small gift loaves), Cover with a tightly woven towel and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 minutes.

  6. About 10 minutes before baking, preheat oven to 375 degrees.
  7. Bake for 15 minutes (rolls) or 25 minutes (loaves), or until the internal temperature of the loaves reaches 190 degrees.
  8. Immediately remove bread from pans and cool on a rack.

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