Tuesday, May 1, 2007

Farmer's Bread

I found this recipe online and its one of my favorite. Its easy to make, has only a few ingredients, tastes great, and looks so cool (which is the best part). The smell of baking bread completely fills my house when I make this and I always feel so domestic. Have fun and let me know what you think!

2 pkgs dry active yeast (2 Tablespoons)
2 cups warm water
6 1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/3 cup butter, chilled and diced

1. In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.

In a large bowl, combine 4 cups of flour and salt. Cut in the butter and stir in the yeast mixture. Beat in the remaining flour, 1/2 cup at a time. When the dough has pulled together, turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 10 minutes. Butter a large bowl, place the dough in the bowl, and turn to coat. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise in a warm place until doubled in volume, about 1 hour.

3. Deflate the dough and turn it out onto a lightly floured surface. Form the dough into a large oval loaf. Place on lightly greased large baking sheet. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise until doubled in volume, about 30 minutes. When the loaf is risen, cut a 1/2 inch deep cross onto the top of it. Brush the top with water before baking.

4. Bake in preheated 400 degree oven for 25 minutes. Reduce heat to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C) and bake for an additional 15 minutes, or until bottom of loaf sounds hollow when tapped. Let cool on a wire rack before slicing.

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