Sheepherder's bread

Yield: 1 servings

Measure Ingredient
3 cups Water, very hot (about
140 \N F)
½ cup Butter, margarine or solid shortening (1/4 lb)
½ cup Sugar
2½ teaspoon Salt
2 packs Yeast, active & dry
9 cups All purpose flour, unbleached Salad oil


Tending flocks on windswept rangelands, miles from the nearest village, Basque sheepherders have had to develop virtuosity at campfire cookery. This large, dome-shaped loaf is but one example -- cooked like most of their food, in a cast-iron pot. Though Basques bury the pot under the campfire, ours goes less dramatically into an ordinary oven. If you want to be truly authentic, you'll have a loyal sheepdog nearby. Traditionally, the dog gets the first slice.

In a large bowl, combine the hot water, butter, sugar, and salt. Stir until the butter is melted; let stand until warm (about 110F). Stir in yeast, cover and let stand in a warm place until bubbly (5 to 15 minutes). Add 5 cups of flour and, with a wooden spoon or heavy duty electric mixer at medium speed, beat until a thick batter forms, stir in about 3-½ cups more flour to make a stiff dough. Turn dough out onto a floured board and knead until nonsticky, smooth and satiny (about 10 minutes), adding flour as needed to prevent sticking. Place dough in a greased bowl; turn over to grease top. Cover and let rise in a warm place (80F) until doubled (1-½ hours). Punch down dough, knead on a floured until smooth, then shape into a ball. Cover the bottom of a 10-inch cast-iron or cast-aluminum Dutch oven (5 quart size) with a circle of foil. Oil inside of kettle, including foil, and underside of lid. Place dough in kettle and cover with lid. Let rise in a warm place (80F) until dough pushes up the lid about ½ inch (about 1 hour). Bake, covered with lid, in a 375F oven for 12 minutes. Remove lid and bake for 30 to 35 more minutes or until loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when tapped. Turn loaf out onto a rack to cool (you may need a helper). Peel of tin foil.


Recipe from: Sunset International Vegetarian Cook Book By: Editors of Sunset Books and Magazines From: Sam Lefkowitz Date: 09-13-94 Submitted By GAIL SHIPP On 03-05-95

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