These pillowy anise rolls are a pan dulce staple at the famous El Cardenal in Mexico City, a restaurant that has been serving traditional Mexican dishes in the capital since 1969.
- 200 grams bread flour
- 6 grams instant yeast
- 36 grams sugar
- 100 grams whole milk
- 1 large egg, room temperature
- 1 teaspoon vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract
- 40 grams unsalted butter
- 3 grams salt
- Set aside: A few tablespoons of all-purpose flour for flouring your work surface
For the filling:
- 1/4 cup sugar
- 2 teaspoons whole anise seeds
For the top of the rolls after baking:
- 1 tablespoon unsalted butter, melted
- 2–3 tablespoons of sugar, for dusting
- Measure and add 200 grams bread flour, 6 grams instant yeast and 36 grams granulated sugar to a stand mixer bowl with a dough hook attachment. Mix on low speed to gently combine dry ingredients, but don’t add the salt yet.
- Stop the mixer. Measure and add 100 grams whole milk and 1 large egg to the stand mixer bowl and then resume mixing on low speed. This is a high-hydration dough, so it will be very sticky and may also be lumpy at this stage.
- Add 40 grams room-temperature unsalted butter and vanilla bean paste or pure vanilla extract to the mixer bowl and increase speed to medium (4 on a KitchenAid). After 5 minutes, your dough should be smooth and starting to gather around the hook.
- Add 3 grams of kosher salt sprinkled around the mixer bowl and continue on medium speed for another 10 minutes. It’s ready when most of the dough gathers around the hook, very little is sticking to the sides, and the dough may make a slapping sound against the side of the bowl.
- Spray cooking spray or lightly grease the inside of a large glass bowl with canola oil or vegetable oil. Turn the dough out into the glass bowl and scrape any dough still stuck to the sides of the mixer bowl. Cover with plastic cling wrap and a kitchen towel. Place in a warm location to rise for 2 hours or until doubled in size.
- After the first rise, remove the plastic cling wrap and gently push a few fingers into the middle of the bowl to release some of the gas. Spread a few tablespoons of all-purpose flour on your work surface and turn the dough out on top of the surface. Sprinkle a little more flour on top of the dough to prevent it from sticking to your hands as you shape it.
- Use your hands to first gently stretch the dough into a rectangle. Use a floured rolling pin to gently roll out to a 10×14 rectangle. It’s OK if it’s not a perfect rectangle, but don’t make it too thin. You should have at least 1/4-inch thickness.
- Once your dough is rolled out, evenly spread 1/4 cup sugar and 2 teaspoons whole anise seeds over the dough. Roll starting from the long end and tuck the seam under the bottom.
- Use a bench scraper or a very sharp knife to divide the dough into 9-12 equal pieces. Arrange them in a 9×9 square pan lined with parchment paper. Cover with a kitchen towel and place in a warm location for a second rise until the rolls have doubled in size; this should take 1.5-2 hours.
- Bake in a preheated 350 degree Fahrenheit oven for about 10-12 minutes, until the tops and sides look sufficiently browned but not burned. If you’ve cut 9 larger rolls, they may take as much as 15 minutes in the oven, as every oven is a little different.
- Remove from the oven and immediately brush with 1 tablespoon unsalted melted butter and sprinkle 2-3 tablespoons of sugar liberally over the top.
- Allow to cool for 10 minutes and then serve.
To make the dough ahead of time: You can make this dough the night before and allow it to rise overnight in the refrigerator. The temperature will slow the growth of the yeast, but it should be plenty of time to double in size. If it doesn’t quite double, you can leave it out on the counter for about 30 minutes to come to room temperature and rise a bit more.
Any bread that is not eaten immediately should be stored in an airtight container to prevent it from drying out.
Keywords: pan dulce, pan de anis, pan de anís, roles de anís, anise rolls, anise