Sprinkle the yeast over warm water. The best way to test the temperature of your water is to take it from the tap and run your wrist in the stream. If you can’t feel the temperature of the water, it’s perfect. Stir yeast in with a fork until it is dissolved and set aside.
In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer, blend the milk, sugar, salt, anise seed, and anise extract with a wooden spoon or a spatula. Stir in the butter, eggs with 2 Tablespoons removed, and yeast mixture.
Gradually stir in the flour. If you are using a stand mixer, use your dough hook. If mixing by hand, continue to use a wooden spoon or spatula. Add flour until your dough is soft enough to handle, usually when it can easily pull away from the sides of your bowl.
Turn out dough on a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic. You may need to add the last cup or so of flour by hand. Your dough should feel like PlayDoh to the touch and “snap” when you pull it apart.
Spray your bowl with non-stick spray and place the dough ball into the bottom of the bowl. Flip the dough ball over to coat the top, and then cover the bowl with a lid or towel and place in a warm environment. I like to heat my oven to 200ºF (93ºC), turn it off, then leave the door cracked with the bowl inside. Allow dough to rise until double in size, about 2 hours.
After dough has doubled, punch down the dough and turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Shape into a loaf and place in a pre-greased loaf pan, cover with a towel, and allow to rise again, about 1 hour.
When you are ready to bake the bread, set the rack to the middle position in your oven and preheat to 350ºF (177ºC).
Using a pastry brush, brush the loaf with the reserved egg. Bake loaf for 36-40 minutes. Loaf is done when the top is golden brown and tapping on the top of bottom of the loaf produces a hollow sound. Loaf stays fresh covered at room temperature up to 1 week. Loaf may be frozen, wrapped tightly, up to 2 months. Thaw to room temperature before serving.
*Bread flour: this is not absolutely imperative to this bread. I've used bread flour and all-purpose flour interchangeably, and I enjoy both textures. Bread flour will make your bread slightly softer, but all-purpose will work perfectly fine if you don't have bread flour on hand.