Tuesday, July 24, 2012

Country Crust Bread

I've been making this bread since the late 1980s when I purchased The Star of Texas Cookbook, published by Houston Junior League in 1983. It has never failed to make a fine loaf of bread, and I have also used the dough for dinner and cinnamon rolls. This time I subbed a little rye flour for the regular flour, and I love the extra nuttiness it lends to the flavor. I halved the recipe for a medium sized loaf, perfect for our grilled cheddar cheese sandwiches tonight and for toast in the morning, buttery and dripping with local organic honey.

Country Crust Bread
from The Star of Texas Cookbook

2 packages dry yeast
2 cups warm water
1/2 cup sugar
2 large eggs
1/4 cup vegetable oil (I used organic virgin coconut oil)
1 tablespoon salt
6 - 6 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose or bread flour

Combine all ingredients except 3 cups flour and beat on low speed. Add remaining flour gradually until soft dough forms and mix with dough hook or knead by hand 10 minutes.

Place in greased large bowl, cover, and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down; turn out onto a lightly floured surface and divide in half or thirds. Place in lightly greased loaf pans – 2 regular (9X5) or 3 small (8X4). Cover with lightly greased plastic wrap and let rise 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

Preheat oven to 375 degrees. Bake on lower oven rack 25 - 30 minutes or until loaves are deep golden brown and sound hollow when tapped. Remove from pans to a wire rack, and brush loaves with melted butter. Let cool completely - about 1 hour – before slicing.

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