Cookbook:Anise Bread (Penia)

Anise Bread (Penia)
CategoryBread recipes
TimePrep: 45 minutes
1st rise: 12 hours
2nd rise: 2–3 hours
baking: 20 minutes

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Penia is a sweet bread of Italian origin traditionally made at Easter time.


Ingredient Count Volume Weight Baker's % (optional)
Eggs 6 ea. 300 g 43.64%
White granulated sugar 1 cup 200 g 29.09%
Butter, melted ½ cup 120 g 17.45%
Yeast cakes 1.5 ea. 25.5 g 3.71%
Warm water ¼ cup 58.72 g 8.54%
Lemons, zested and juiced 2 ea. 100 g 14.55%
Anise extract 1 fl oz 26 g 3.78%
Anise seed 6 tbsp 40.2 g 5.85%
Salt 1 tsp 6 g 0.87%
Flour 5–6 cups flour 687.5 g 100%
Total n/a n/a 1576.92 229.37%


  1. Dissolve the yeast cakes in the warm water and set aside.
  2. Beat eggs until fluffy.
  3. Add sugar and beat.
  4. Add melted butter and beat, then add salt.
  5. Add the juices and spices.
  6. Add the water-yeast mixture, and stir until well blended.
  7. Add flour, then mix until ready for kneading.
  8. Knead thoroughly until dough springs back when finger-poked.
  9. Allow dough to rise overnight (12 hours) or until doubled in size.
  10. Divide dough into 7 portions.
  11. Shape each portion into the shape of dolls.
  12. Allow to rise for 2 to 3 hours.
  13. Bake at 275–300°F (140–160°C) for 15–20 minutes.

Notes, tips, and variations

  • Yeast cakes seem to work better than dry yeast. But, you can use 2 packs of dried yeast instead of the yeast cakes.
  • You can use 1 tbsp (13 g) lemon extract instead of the lemon juice.
  • Alternately it is shaped into a couple of large rings with shell-on hard boiled eggs embedded in the dough at the cardinal points. The eggs were a symbol of resurrection and the four directions the sign of the cross.
  • Don't forget the sweet glaze; 1lb (450g) of confectioners' sugar with enough water to make it spreadable. Spread on each loaf and cover generously with colorful sprinkles!

Conversion Notes