Recipe of the Week
2 pkg. active dry yeast
2 Tbsp. sugar
1/3 cup peanut oil
3 cups warm water (110°-115°)
5 cups hard wheat bread flour
2 tsp. kosher salt
4-5 cups additional bread flour as needed
Combine the yeast, sugar, peanut oil, and warm water in a bowl and mix with a wooden spoon or wire whisk. Set the mixture aside for the yeast to proof, about 15 minutes.
In a large bowl mix 5 cups of flour with the salt. Add yeast mixture and beat with a wooden spoon to form a heavy batter. Stir in additional flour, 1 cup at a time, until the mixture forms a stiff dough that does not stick to sides of bowl. Turn dough onto a floured surface, then knead until the dough is smooth, does not stick to the surface, and springs back into shape when poked with finger. This requires 15 minutes, minimum.
Coat the inside surface of a large mixing bowl with shortening, place dough inside, cover with a clean cloth, and allow dough to rise until triple in bulk. This will take about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and knead into a smooth ball. Coat the inside of the Dutch oven and lid with shortening. Place dough inside and put lid in place. Let dough rise until it touches the lid. Watch this rising carefully; you do not want the rising dough to lift the lid.
Place the loaf in a preheated 375° oven. Bake for 10 minutes, with the lid in place. Remove the lid and continue baking until the loaf sounds hollow when tapped. This will take between 35 and 50 minutes. Remove the fully-baked loaf from the pot and place it on a rack to cool.