This recipe was graciously given to me by Charlotte’s granddaughter - my friend, Leslie.
4 cups flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon anise (or crushed aniseed)
1 1/2 teaspoons nigella seeds (these can be found at Asian markets - also called kalonjee or onion seeds. “Or ‘black peeps’ as Grandma would call them.”)
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ginger
1 cup warm milk
227 grams (8 ounces, 1 cup) butter
1 package, 7 grams yeast
First, warm milk with butter until melted in a saucepan. Allow to cool.
In a small bowl, add the yeast in 1/4 cup warm water with 1 tablespoon sugar. Set aside. This will “activate” it - wake it up.
In a large bowl, combine all dry ingredients: flour, salt, anise, nigella seeds, cinnamon and ginger.
Pour liquids (the milk/butter & and the yeast) into dry ingredients. Mix with a spoon until it becomes a dough. It should come clean away from the sides of the bowl. Now knead the dough: use your hands to push and fold the dough, pushing again. Do this for a few minutes.
Make an egg wash: beat together 1 egg and 2 tablespoons water. Set aside.
Put the dough onto a clean work surface. Punch it down, knead a bit more. Now pull off sections and roll them into long thin strips (about the width of your finger.) Cut off sections about 10-15 cms long and form them into braids, pinching the ends together.
Bake 200ºC/180ºC fan oven until golden brown and puffed - about 20 minutes.