Old Fashioned Church Bread
Time: 5 hours 30 minutes
Yield: 20 servings
Old Fashioned Church Bread is a mainstay of church picnics, dinners, and potlucks; an almost brioche-like loaf of rich bread, Old Fashioned Church Bread is perfect for sandwiches, mopping up sauces, or for serving up with a pat of butter. This bread is sweet and versatile, a fluffy favorite that will have people asking for the recipe. Baking bread never tasted so rewarding!
Dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. Set the yeast mixture aside.
In a pan on the stove-top, heat the remaining 2 cups of water with the sugar, salt, and the shortening until just warm, ensuring the sugar is dissolved and the shortening is melted. Make sure the mixture does not boil.
In a large mixing bowl, add 4 cups flour and the shortening/sugar mixture, mixing it with a spoon.
Add the yeast mixture to the flour mixture.
Add the remaining 1 cup flour a little at a time until a dough forms and you can make a ball with it. Add more flour as needed to form the dough.
Flour a work surface.
Knead the dough several times on the floured work surface.
Grease a large bowl.
Put the dough in the greased bowl, turning it so the entire surface of the dough is coated.
Place the bowl, covered, in a warm spot and allow the dough to rise for 3 hours.
Remove the dough from the bowl and punch it down.
Cut the dough in half.
Grease two 9x5-inch bread pans.
Spread the dough in the prepared bread pans.
Allow the dough to rise for 1 hour 30 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Bake until cooked through, about 30 minutes.