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Tassajara Yeasted Bread

(recipe, Edward Espe Brown)


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Ingredients

  1. 3 cups lukewarm water (85 to 105 degrees)
  2. 1½ Tbsp. dry yeast (2 packages)
  3. ¼ cup sweetening (honey, molasses, or brown sugar)
  4. 1 cup dry milk (optional)
  5. 4 cups whole-wheat flour (substitute 1 or more cups unbleached white flour if desired)
  6. 4 tsp. salt
  7. ⅓ cup oil or butter or margarine
  8. 3 cups additional whole-wheat flour
  9. 1 cup whole-wheat flour for kneading

Steps

  1. In a large ceramic bowl, dissolve the yeast in the water. Stir in the sweetening and the dry milk (optional). Stir in the 4 cups of whole-wheat flour to form a thick batter. Beat well with a spoon (100 strokes).
  2. Let the dough rise for 45 minutes.
  3. Fold in the salt and the oil, then fold in the additional 3 cups of flour until the dough comes away from the sides of the bowl. Knead on a floured board for about 10 minutes, using the additional 1 cup flour as needed to keep the dough from sticking to the board. Stop when the dough is smooth.
  4. Let the dough rise for 50 to 60 minutes, or until doubled in size. Punch it down.
  5. Let the dough rise for another 40 to 50 minutes, or until doubled in size. Shape the dough into loaves and place in 2 oiled loaf pans or a single heavy oiled baking dish. Let rise for 20 to 25 minutes.
  6. Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
  7. Brush the tops of the loaves with an egg wash (a egg beaten with a few tablespoons of water or milk) and bake for 40 minutes to an hour, or until golden brown. Remove from the pans and let cool before slicing.

Note

You can replace part of the water with milk. If you like a lighter bread (and quicker risings), use an additional package of yeast.