I posted this recipe some time back with the directions a bit less clear
than they should have been. A poor soul emailed me the other night that
he'd tried the yeast version and had a big gooey mess. The only thing we
could pin it down to was that he'd added an additional 1/2 cup water to
dissolve the yeast, rather than taking that 1/2 cup from the 4 1/2 cups
total. So I apologize, have re-written and am re-submitting the recipe in
the hopes that no one else will have to put the resulting product in body bags.
I used the following recipe to win 4-H grand championships several years in
a row (Cottonwood County, Minnesota). One of my "tricks" is to knead only
as long as is necessary to keep the bread from sticking to your hands ....
makes it lighter. The second recipe is the same one adapted for sourdough.
4-H CHAMPION BREAD
Makes 4 loaves
2 pkg. yeast
3/4 c. dry milk
1/4 c. + 2 T. sugar
about 12 c. flour
4 1/2 c. lukewarm water
2 T. salt
4 1/2 T. margarine
Dissolve yeast in 1/2 cup of the water. Mix remaining 4 cups water, dry
milk, salt, sugar and margarine. Add yeast. Add 5 c. flour and beat. Let
stand 15 min. Beat. Add flour to make soft dough. Add last flour. Knead
until smooth and elastic. Grease ball and place in bowl. Cover. Let rise
to double. Knead down and divide in 4. Let stand 15-30 min. and make into
loaves. Let rise until 3/4 inch over top of 1 lb. tin. Bake at 350F
for 40 minutes.
4-H CHAMPION BREAD - SOURDOUGH VERSION
Makes four loaves
3 cups expanded sourdough starter
3 1/3 cups lukewarm water (sometimes I use beer or buttermilk, at room temp)
1/4 cup + 2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons salt
4 1/2 tablespoons margarine, melted
about 9-10 cups flour
Mix sourdough, water, sugar, salt, and margarine. Add 5 cups flour and
beat until smooth. Let stand 15 minutes. Add flour to make a soft dough.
Knead, adding flour, until dough is no longer sticky. Place dough in large
bowl. Cover with a dish towel. Let rise until double in volume.* Knead
down and divide into fourths. Let stand 15-30 minutes. Shape into loaves
and place into greased and floured one-pound loaf pans. Let rise until 3/4
inch over top of pan. Bake at 350F for 40 min.
*On a cold day, you can speed the raising process. Set the oven to 200
degrees for 2 minutes. Turn oven off immediately and place bread, covered
with aluminum foil - in metal or glass bowl only - in oven to raise.