Monday, December 29, 2008
3 c. very hot water
1/2 c. butter
1/2 c. sugar
2 1/2 t. salt
2 T. yeast
9 - 9 1/2 c. unsifted flour
In a heavy-duty mixer, combine the first four ingredients. Stir until butter melts; let cool to warm. Stir in yeast, cover, and set in warm place until bubbly, about 15 minutes.
Add 5 c. flour and beat to form a thick batter. Add enough remaining flour to form a stiff dough. Knead 5 minutes in the mixer or 10 minutes by hand.
Place dough in a large greased bowl and cover. Let rise for 1 hour, punch down; let rise another 20 minutes and punch down again. Knead on a floured board to form a smooth ball. Grease inside of a Dutch oven or large heavy-duty stockpot (including lid). Place dough in the pot and cover. Let rise in a warm place until dough pushes up lid about 1/2" - approximately 20-30 minutes.
Bake, covered with lid, in a 375 degree oven for 12 minutes. Remove lid and bake for another 20-30 minutes, depending on the size of the loaf. Loaf is done when golden brown and it sounds hollow when tapped. Brush the top with butter and cool on a wire rack.
Serves a crowd!