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1/2 c Milk
2 tb Sugar
2 tb Vegetable Shortening
1 c Sourdough Starter
1 lg Egg, Beaten — at room
1 1/4 ts Salt
2 1/2 c (Approx) Unbleached Flour,
Preferably Bread Flour
1. In a small saucepan, heat the milk over medium heat until tiny
bubbles appear around the edges, about 3 mins. Remove from heat, add
the sugar and shortening, and stir until the shortening is melted.
Cool until lukewarm (no more than 105 F).
2. Pour into a large bowl. Add the sourdough starter, egg, and salt
and mix well. Stir in 1 cup of flour to make a thick batter.
Gradually beat in enough of the flour to make a dough that is too
stiff to stir.
3. On a lightly floured work surface, knead the dough, adding more
flour as needed to make a supple dough that isn’t sticky. Continue
kneading until smooth and elastic, to to 15 mins. Form into a ball
and place in a large, lightly buttered bowl. Turn once to coat the
top of the dough with butter. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and
let rise in a warm place (in a turned-off oven with a pilot light,
for example) until doubled in volume, about 3 hrs.
4. Punch down the dough and let rise again until almost doubled,
about 1 1/2 hrs.
5. Lightly butter a 9 by 5-inch loaf pan. Form the dough into a loaf
and place seam side down, into the prepared pan. Cover with plastic
wrap and let rise until almost doubled, about 45 mins.
6. Preheat the oven to 375 F. Using a serrated knife, cut two shallow
slashes in the top of the bread. Bake until the top is golden brown
and the bottom sounds hollow when tapped with knuckle (remove the
loaf from the pan to test, using pot holders for protection), 30 to
40 mins. Unmold onto a wire cake rack and cool completely.
NOTE: The bread can also be shaped into a round loaf, allowing the
final rise to take place in the Dutch oven. Bake according to
directions for baking over a grill for 50 to 60 mins. Fan the coals
occasionally and protect the fire with a wind guard to ensure even
heat You may also want to ignite some extra coals to have ready if
the first coals die out before the bread is done. Makes 1 (9 x 5-in)
loaf from Richard Bolt, a West Texas ranch cook.