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Basque Sheepherder's Bread
Posted to the Net by Bob Leonard, Jr.
BASQUE SHEEPHERDER'S BREAD
3 cups very hot tap water
1/2 cup (1/4 lb) butter or margarine
1/3 cup sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 pkg active dry yeast
9 to 9 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
In a large bowl, combine hot water, butter, sugar, and salt. Stir
until butter has melted; let cool to about 110 degrees. Stir in
yeast, cover, and set in a warm place until bubbly (about 15 minutes).
Beat in about 5 cups of the flour to make a thick batter. Stir in
enough of the remaining flour (about 3 1/2 cups) to make a stiff
dough. Turn dough out onto a floured board; knead until smooth and
satiny (10 to 20 minutes), adding flour as needed to prevent sticking.
Place dough in a greased bowl; turn over to grease top. Cover and let
rise until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).
Punch dough down and knead briefly on a floured board to release air;
shape into a smooth ball. With a circle of foil, cover the inside
bottom of a 5-quart cast-iron or cast-aluminum Dutch oven. Grease
foil, inside of Dutch oven, and underside of lid with salad oil.
Place dough in Dutch oven and cover with lid. Let rise in a warm
place until dough pushes up lid by about 1/2 inch (about 1 hour --
Bake, covered with lid, in a preheated 375 degree oven for 12 minutes.
Remove lid and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes or until loaf is
golden brown. Remove from oven and turn out onto a rack to cool
(you'll need a helper). Peel off foil and turn loaf upright. Makes 1
very large loaf.
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