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- 1 package active dry yeast
- 1⅓ cups warm water (about 110°F)
- 1 tablespoon vegetable oil
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 3½ to 4 cups flour
- ½ cup wheat germ, optional
- 1 teaspoon cornstarch dissolved in ⅓ cup water
- In a large bowl, sprinkle yeast over warm water and let stand for 5 minutes.
- Stir in oil, salt, and sugar.
- Add 2½ cups flour and mix to blend.
- Using a spoon or heavy duty mixer, beat until elastic, about 5 minutes.
- Stir in (you may want to use dough hooks) another cup of flour and wheat germ, if desired to make a stiff dough.
- Knead on a board or pastry cloth, floured with some of the last ½ cup flour, until dough is springy and smooth and develops small bubbles just under the surface (about 20 to 25 minutes-you may want to do this with the dough hooks).
- Put in greased bowl, turning to grease top, then cover with a cloth.
- Rise until doubled, about an hour, depending on temperature.
- Punch down dough, turn out, and divide in half.
- Preheat oven to 375°F.
- Shape each half of dough into a slender oval loaf about 15 inches long.
- Place on greased baking sheet, cover lightly and let rise until nearly doubled, about 30 to 40 minutes.
- Bring cornstarch mixture to a boil and stir until thick and clear.
- Brush loaves with mixture.
- Slash loaf tops ½ inch with floured sharp knife or razor blade.
- Bake until loaves browned and sound hollow when tapped, 25 to 30 minutes.
- Cool on wire racks.
Tips, Notes, and Variations
- A cup of whole wheat flour may be substituted for a cup of plain flour.
- To get a rapid initial rise, use water about 130-135°F, and pour into bowl with yeast mixed with initial flour and salt and sugar and start mixing.
- All rising should be in a warm place, like near the refrigerator.
- A baking stone, ceramic brick, or even an iron skillet or griddle preheated in the oven (to place the the baking sheet on) will give a good "spring" or quick rise when the loaves are first placed in the oven.
- Great with cheese and cold meats on a picnic.