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Spiral Challah w/Anise and Raisins (P)
Source: "Canadian Living Magazine," September 2002
Serves: 10

1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup warm water
1 package (2-1/4 tsp.) active dry yeast
Approximately 3-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
2 teaspoons anise seeds, crushed
1-1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 cup vegetable oil
1/4 cup liquid honey
2 egg yolks
3/4 cup golden raisins

1 egg

In small bowl, dissolve sugar in water. Sprinkle yeast over top; let stand until frothy, about 10 minutes.

In large bowl, whisk together 3 cups of the flour, aniseeds and salt. Add yeast mixture, oil, honey, eggs and egg yolks; using wooden spoon, stir to form soft, sticky dough.

Turn out onto lightly floured surface; knead, dusting with enough of the remaining flour to prevent dough from sticking, until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes.

Place in large greased bowl, turning to grease all over. Cover with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk and indentation remains when dough is poked with 2 fingers, about 1-1/2 hours. (Or let rise in refrigerator for up to 12 hours; bring to room temperature for 45 to 60 minutes before proceeding.)

Punch down dough; with lightly floured hands, squeeze and roll dough out to 36" long rope. Using fingertips, press to flatten into 4" wide strip. Press raisins evenly along strip; fold long edges together over raisins and pinch to enclose. Gently roll to make smooth, seamless log.

Fold 2" of 1 end over and flatten; bend upward slightly. Wind remaining rope around flattened end to form fairly tight spiral, keeping centre slightly higher. Transfer to greased rimless baking sheet. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let rise in warm draft-free place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Lightly beat egg with 1 tbsp. water; brush over loaf. Bake in centre of 350°F (180°C) oven until golden and loaf sounds hollow when tapped on bottom, 35 to 45 minutes. Let cool on rack.

Author's Notes: Nearly all Rosh Hashanah menus feature spiraled challah bread; the roundness symbolizes a universal wish for a full year overflowing with peace, happiness and prosperity. The round loaves also typically spiral upward in the centre so that the prayers said during the holiday will ascend to heaven. Sephardic Jews, especially those from the Mediterranean often add aniseeds and/or sesame seeds to their challah, not just for flavour but also because they represent fruitfulness.

Posted by Carole Walberg

Nutritional Info Per Serving: 311calories, 8g protein, 9g total fat (1g saturated fat), 51g carbohydrates, 2g fibre, 96mg cholesterol, 367mg sodium. % RDI: 3% calcium, 19% iron, 4% vitamin A, 36% folate.