This Moroccan challah is called pain petri (kneaded bread) because the women who made it traditionally spent a lot of time kneading the dough to achieve a smooth, light loaf.
2 (0.25-ounce) packages active dry yeast, or 4 1/2 teaspoons
1 cup warm water
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/2 cup granulated sugar
3 large eggs
1/2 cup vegetable oil
1 tablespoon sesame seed
1 tablespoon anise seed
3 cups warm water
1 large egg yolk
1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- In a small bowl, combine yeast and warm water; let stand for 5 minutes.
- Place flour in a large bowl. Make a well in the center and add sugar, eggs, oil, sesame seed, anise seed, and the yeast mixture. Stir in up to 3 cups warm water and knead to make a soft dough.
- Form the dough into a ball and place in a greased bowl, turning to coat the top. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 30 to 40 minutes, or until doubled in bulk.
- Punch down the dough and knead briefly. Divide the dough into 5 pieces and shape into round loaves. Place on a greased baking sheet. Cover and let rise about 1 hour.
- Combine egg yolk and oil. Brush over the loaves.
- Bake in a preheated oven at 400°F (205°C) until golden brown, about 50 minutes.
Makes 5 loaves.