Monday, March 20, 2006

Sheepherders Bread

May you have the hindsight to know where you've been and foresight to know where you're going and the insight to know when you're going too far.

Irish Proverb

We do not cut this bread but everyone tears off amount they want from the loaf.
1/2 cup butter or margarine
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
3 cups boiling water
2 packages (1/4 oz each) active dry yeast
9 to 10 cups all-purpose flour

Combine butter, sugar, salt, and boiling water in large bowl of electric mixer; stir until butter is melted. Let cool to 110F. Sprinkle yeast over mixture; stir until dissolved. Let stand 10 minutes or until small bubbles form.

Beat in 6 cups flour, 1 cup at a time at low speed until blended. Beat 5 minutes at medium speed. Stir in 3 cups flour to make stiff dough. Turn dough out onto lightly floured board; knead 10 minutes or until dough is smooth and satiny, adding as little remaining flour as necessary to prevent sticking. Place dought in greased large bowl; turn dough to coat evenly. Cover loosely with plastic wrap; let stand in warm place until doubled in bulk, about 1 hour.

Punch down dough an knead briefly to release air. Shape into smooth ball. Grease side and inside of lid of ovenproof 5 quart Dutch oven with shortening. Cover bottom of Dutch oven with a cirle of foil. Place dough in Dutch oven; cover with lid. Let stand in warm place until dough raised lid by 1/2 inch, about 1 hour. Preheat oven to 375F.

Bake , covered, 20 minutes. Remove lid. Continue baking, uncovered, 45 to 60 minutes or until golden brown. Turn out onto rack; bread should sound hollow when tapped on bottom. Peel off foil; turn loaf upright to cool.

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