Sheepherder’s Bread

I found this recipe in one of my Mom’s old books. It is from Sunset Cookbook of Breads

I prefer to make it in a bread machine on the dough cycle and let the machine do the kneading.

3 cups warm tap water
1/2 cup softened butter
1/3 – 1/2 cup of sugar
2 1/2 tsp salt
2 packages of active dry yeast (or 2 Tablespoons)
6 to 9 cups all purpose flour

In you bread machine, place wet ingredients in first and then add 6 cups of flour.
I start the machine, and as it mixes, I add more of the flour as needed. I haven’t had to use all 9 cups of flour.
In my bread machine, the mixing will take less than 10 minutes and the it will be through the first rise after 1 1/2 hours.
Since this is such a large amount of dough, I like to spray the top of my bread machine with pam incase it rises to the top and it usually will.

While taking the dough out of the machine, you will be punching it down. I like to shape into two round loaves.
I have two cast iron frying pans that I use. Grease the pans and place the round loaf and cover with a clean towel and let rise until doubled in size.

Pre-Heat your oven to 500 degrees. Once you put the bread in the oven, reduce the temperature to 400 degrees.
I like to bake at high temperatures so you can get a good crust on the bread. (If you place a cake pan in the bottom of your oven, after you have added the bread, pour 1 cup of water to the cake pan. This will create steam and boost the rise while baking.)
Bake for 40 minutes until the temperature is 208 degrees. The outside should should be golden brown and sound hollow when tapped.

Remove from the oven and allow to rest.

This bread is excellent with a bit of homemade jam!

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