Cookbook:Anise Bread (Penia)

Anise Bread (Penia)
Category Bread recipes
Servings ~7
Time prep: 45 min
1st rise: 12 hours
2nd rise: 2-3 hours
baking: 20 min

Cookbook | Ingredients | Recipes

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


Volumetric [note 1] Grams Baker's %
6 eggs 300 43.64%
1 cup sugar 200 29.09%
1/2 cup (120g) of butter melted 120 17.45%
1.5 yeast cakes (or 3 packs of dried yeast, use 2 when making 6 eggs) 25.5 3.71%
1/4 cup (120ml) of warm water 58.72 8.54%
Juice and zest of 2 lemons OR 100 14.55%
1 tbl lemon extract 13 1.89%
1 fl oz anise extract (1 small bottle) 26 3.78%
6 tbl anise seed (1 bottle) 40.2 5.85%
1 tsp salt 6 0.87%
5-6 cup flour (enough to feel right) 687.5 100%
Formula 1576.92 229.37%


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

Notes, tips, and variationsEdit

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 NotesEdit

  1. Weight conversions from USDA National Nutrient Database. Original recipe text and ingredient order preserved. All purpose flour presumed, averaged to 5.5 cups for conversion. Eggs are presumed as large. USDA database currently only lists vanilla extract, weights of anise and lemon extracts presumed the same. Lemon zest is estimated at 1 teaspoon per lemon per, lemon peel is 2 g per teaspoon per USDA database, zest is presumed to weigh about the same. Warm water is estimated at 43 °C, density adjustment applied for weight conversion. Fresh yeast cake weight used, this weight is specific to compressed yeast, dry yeast will weigh less.