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Ring Shaped Sweet Bread

Source: Cucina Ebraica - Flavors of the Italian Jewish Kitchen
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Active Time:  20 Minutes
Total Time:  7 Hours 25 Minutes
  Serves 12 Generously
Bolo is Spanish for "ball" or "bun." This dessert, also called bollo, has been throughly assimilated into the Italian baking repertoire. Every region seems to have a version of the fabulous sweet bread. It is called busola in the Veneto, buccellato in most of Tuscany, and ciambella in the town of Lucca. Buccellato means "bracelet," and the name comes from the fact that the cake is traditionally formed into a ring. I have found recipes for this in Tunisian cookbooks as well, due to the many Livornese Jews who settled there.
For Sponge:
1 cup all-purpose flour
1 1/2 envelopes (4 teaspoons) active dry yeast
1/2 cup warm water (about 105 degrees F)
For Dough:
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 cup sugar
2/3 cup warm water (about 105 degrees F)
1/2 teaspoon salt
Grated zest of 1 lemon
Grated zest of 1 orange
4 eggs
4 tablespoons olive oil
2/3 cup raisins
2 tablespoons aniseeds
To make the sponge, place the flour in a small bowl. In another small bowl, stir the yeast into the warm water, then add the mixture to the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rest in a warm place until frothy and doubled in size, about 30 minutes.

To maker the dough, in the bowl of a strand mixer fitted with paddle attachment, combine the flour, sugar, warm water, salt, citrus zests, eggs, and olive oil. Beat to mix well. Add the sponge and beat on low speed until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes. Add the raisins and aniseeds and mix gently. Turn into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until doubled in size, about 3 hours.

Line 2 baking sheets with parchment paper. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured board. Punch down and fold the dough over onto itself a few times. Divide the dough in half. Using your palms, roll half the dough into a log 20 to 24 inches long. Place on a prepared baking sheet and connect the ends of the log to form a circle. Repeat with the other half of the dough and place it on the other baking sheet. (You can also make 1 giant ring, forming the dough into a single log of 30 inches long and then connecting the ends to form a circle.) Cover with a kitchen towel and let rise until doubled in size, about 3 hours.

Preheat an oven to 375 degrees F.

Bake until golden, 35 to 40 minutes. Remove from the oven and transfer to a rack to cool completely. To store, cool, then wrap in plastic wrap and store at room temperature for up to 5 days.

Recipe reprinted by permission of Chronicle. All rights reserved.
Date Added: 01/01/2008
Nutrition Facts per Serving
Yield:   Serves 12 Generously
Calories: 319
Fat. Total: 7g
Fiber: 2g
Carbohydrates, Total: 58g
Sodium: 121mg
% Cal. from Fat: 20%
Cholesterol: 71mg
Protein: 7g
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