Makes 2 loaves
Preheat oven to 400 degrees
Adapted from Father Dominic Garramone, OSB
- 2 cups warm water
- 2 packages active dry yeast (not instant)
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 2 teaspoons sea or kosher salt
- ¼ cup melted butter (that is not hot, but warm) or lard (or vegetable oil for vegan)
- 6 to 6 ½ cups unbleached bread flour (Separate into 5 cups and 1 to ½ cups)
- Large stoneware bowl (bowl should be three times volume of your dough. i.e. for this recipe bowl capacity should be at least 15 cups.)
- Plastic wrap
- Heavy duty bread loaf pans
- Nice but not necessary: Kitchen Aid Mixer with dough hook
In stoneware bowl mix water, sugar and yeast. Stir to dissolve. Let stand about 10 minutes (or until foamy). Add salt and butter; stir to mix.
One cup at a time, add 5 cups of the flour, mixing thoroughly each time.
***Kitchenaid Method*** Move dough into Kitchen-Aid with dough hook attachment. Turn on low setting. Let dough hook work dough about 3 minutes.
***Hand Method*** Move dough to lightly floured wood surface (using reserved flour). Knead 6 to 8 minutes until dough is smooth and elastic.
Place dough back into lightly greased stoneware bowl. Use whatever fat you used in the dough. Turn the dough over in bowl until it is fully coated. Stretch plastic wrap over top of bowl. Let rise at room temperature until dough has tripled in bulk. (The time will vary depending on how warm and humid your kitchen is.)
When your dough has risen, remove plastic wrap and “punch down” dough. Divide the dough into two equal pieces and form each into a loaf shape. Place into greased loaf pan (using same fat as in dough). Cover with plastic wrap or thin, cotton kitchen towel and let rise until doubled.
Place loaf pans on lower oven shelf. On top shelf, place an old cookie sheet with about four ice cubes. Bake for 35 minutes (or until top of loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped).
Remove from pans immediately. Let cool on wire rack. Enjoy!