Bull (Anise Sweet Bread)

This recipe is based on one my great-grandmother made regularly and which my siblings adore. While it seems to be a sort of Portuguese sweet bread has always been called bull in my family. It is a slightly sweet, anise flavored bread. It is assembled and kneaded the night before, left to rise overnight and then formed into small round loaves.

Servings: 5 8″ round loaves
Prep time: 30 minutes
Total time: 12 hours


  • 10 cups flour plus a bit more for kneading
  • 2 1/2 teaspoon salt
  • 1 1/2 cups sugar
  • 2 teaspoons anise seed
  • 2 pkgs. yeast (about 4 1/2 tsp.)
  • 6 eggs
  • 1/2 lb. butter (2 sticks)
  • 1 3/4 cups milk


  1. Add the butter to the milk in a saucepan. Place over low heat until the butter melts. Do not let the milk boil. Allow the mixture to drop below 100°F before continuing.)
  2. Combine the flour, sugar, salt, anise seeds and yeast in a large bowl; set aside.
  3. Scramble the eggs. Continue mixing the eggs and slowly add a ladle of lukewarm butter/milk mixture. Repeat two more times to temper the eggs. Add the eggs to the remaining butter/milk mixture; stir to combine.
  4. Add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients and mix with a sturdy spoon until just combined into a dough. Allow to rest for 30 minutes.
  5. Knead the dough until smooth, about 10 minutes. Place in a greased bowl, cover and let rise in a warm place overnight.
  6. Divide into 5 equal portions. Round each portion into loves and place in a greased 8″ cake pan.
  7. Preheat the oven to 350°F. When bread has completed doubled in size bake for 40 minutes, rotating pans half way through cooking.
  8. Remove from pans and allow to cool fully before cutting (if you can resist temptation).

This bread also makes phenomenal toast.

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