A wonderful, fine textured bread baked in a iron Dutch oven. this is an old Basque sheep herder's recipe. originally it was baked over an open fire, out on the range using hot coals on top and bottom of Dutch oven. it is enormous, but well worth the time and labor of love to make it.
- In a bowl, combine water, butter, sugar and salt. Stir until butter melts and cool to 110 to 115 degrees. Stir in yeast, cover and set in warm place until bubbly, about 15 minutes.
- *Add 5 C flour and beat to form thick batter. Stir in enough of remaining flour (about 3 1/2 cups) to form stiff dough. Turn out on floured board and knead until smooth and elastic (about 10 minutes), adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Turn dough into greased bowl, cover and let rise in warm place until doubled, about 1 1/2 hours. Punch down and knead to form smooth ball. I knead the dough 3 times.
- Grease inside of dutch oven and inside of lid with salad oil. Place dough in dutch oven and cover with lid to let rise for the third time. Let raise in warm place until dough pushes up lid about 1/2 inch (watch closely).
- Bake covered with lid in 375 degree oven for 12 minutes, carefully remove lid and bake for another 30 to 35 minutes, or until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Remove from oven and turn out on rack to cool.
I cut the recipe in half and it still overflowed a 16 cup casserole . I should of used shortening like I normally do to grease the pan the vegetable oil did nothing and my bread stuck really bad . It still is a delicious light bread. The directions say "third rise" there is only two unless you are counting the yeast proofing as a rise or a step is missing???? I will make this again but maybe cut back a bit on the rise times Made for Prop It Up tag Feb 2009