St. Joseph´s Day Bread
When you visit a St. Joseph's table, you often receive gifts of fava beans and breads. Fava beans play an integral part of the celebration because this was the food that saved the Sicilians from starvation. The bean is said to bring good luck, and it is believed that if the St. Joseph's bread is kept in the home, the family will never starve.
3 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 tablespoon honey
2/3 cup hot water
1/2 teaspoon salt
2 tablespoons butter
3 tablespoons anise
1/3 cup golden raisins
1 tablespoon cornmeal
1 In a large bowl, stir together 1 1/2 cups of the flour, yeast, honey, hot water, salt, butter and anise seeds. Mix into a smooth batter. Stir in the golden raisins, and beat for another 10 minutes, gradually adding flour until the dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl.
2 Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead for another 8 to 10 minutes, until the dough is smooth and elastic. You may not need to use all of the flour. Place the dough into a lightly oiled bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with plastic wrap, and place in a warm place until doubled in size, about 1 hour.
3 Grease a baking sheet and dust with cornmeal. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and punch out all of the air. Roll into a long tight loaf, and place seam side down onto the prepared baking sheet. Use a sharp serrated knife to make 3 or four diagonal slashes on the top. Cover with a tea towel, and let rise until double in size, about 30 minutes.
4 Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Mist the loaf with water of vinegar before baking, and twice during.
5 Bake for 35 to 40 minutes in the preheated oven, or until the crust is golden brown, and the loaf sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.
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