SHEEPHERDER’S BREAD

 

 

3 cups hot tap water (120 degrees F)
2/3 cup margarine, room temperature
1/2 cup sugar
2 teaspoons salt
5 teaspoons bread machine yeast
8 1/2 -9 cups bread flour

Generously grease a large 6-quart cast iron Dutch Oven with a tight-fitting lid.

In bowl, combine water, margarine, sugar and salt. Stir in yeast until dissolved. Let stand in warm place until bubbly, about 15 minutes.

Add 4 cups flour; beat 2 minutes. Gradually stir in 4 1/2 cups flour. Sprinkle work surface with remaining flour and knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Place in greased bowl, turning to coat entire surface. Cover; let rise until double in size.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Remove dough from greased bowl; do not punch down dough. Place dough in Dutch Oven and gently round loaf so that it is evenly shaped.

Bake with Dutch Oven lid on for 10 minutes. Remove lid and continue baking until bread is a dark golden brown, an additional 50 minutes. Turn bread onto rack and cool.
Makes 1 large loaf. (32 servings)