Cook1 hr 7 mins
My first bread recipe (from a 50's version of Joy of Cooking)and still my favorite. The family won't let me in to holiday gatherings without an ample supply (like half a loaf per person!)
- Combine yeast, 1/2 C water (105-115 degrees) and 1 t. sugar in bowl and allow to proof. (Until foamy, approximately 5 minutes, or about 10 for standard yeast.).
- Add egg, melted (but not hot) lard, salt and remaining sugar and water (105-115 degrees).
- Add 4 cups flour and beat (with a spoon or mixer) for one minute. Stir in remaining flour one cup at a time, until dough pulls away from the sides of the bowl and can be handled.
- Turn out on a floured surface and knead until dough is smooth and pliable, about 10 minutes .
- Shape into a ball and place into a greased mixing bowl.
- Turn dough over so greased side is on top, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise in a warm place until doubled in size.
- (Approx. 1-1 1/2 hours for rapid rise yeast, 2 hours or so for standard yeast.) Punch dough down, turn it over in the bowl, and allow to rise again until almost doubled in size.
- Punch down and shape into 3 large loaves, or (I prefer) 4 braided loaves.
- (Cut dough into 12 equal pieces, roll each into a long rope and braid them into 4 loaves.) Allow loaves to rise.
- Brush with egg wash (1 egg, 1 t. sugar, 1 t. water) or milk, if desired, and sprinkle with Aunt Jane's salt.
- Bake in 375°F oven for approximately 17 minutes. (braids) or 30-40 minutes (loaves) until brown on the outside and sounds hollow when tapped.