Ok- here's the recipe. My dad used to be the baker in the family for holidays/special events. He died suddenly 6 years ago. I love making this and remembering him. I also have fond memories of him singing along with Johnny Cash and any other oldie on the radio. Maybe I should start playing dad's music while I make it. :) This picture is of him laughing really loud after A grabbed my dad's glasses off his face...
Makes 2 large loaves
5 cups flour
2 pkgs yeast
2 cups warm water (115* is ideal, I think)
1/4 cup oil
2 Tbsp sugar
1 Tbsp salt
In a large bowl, combine 2 cups flour and yeast. Add water, oil, salt and sugar. Beat 30 seconds on low and 3 minutes on high with bread hooks on your mixer (or stir it by hand and make your hand go really fast like on cartoons). :) Stir in enough flour to make a stiff dough- usually another 3 cups on top of the 2 you started with.
Turn onto a clean surface and knead for 8-10 minutes, dusting with flour if it gets sticky. Shape into a ball and place in a lightly greased bowl. Cover with an oil-sprayed pc of plastic wrap and put a damp towel on top of the plastic wrap and let rise for about 60-75 min in a warm spot (until doubled).
Let your aggression out and punch it down. Divide it into 6 balls. Cover with the sprayed plastic wrap and damp towel again and let it rest for 10 min.
Roll each ball into a 16 inch rope (or a little longer). On a greased baking sheet, laugh while you attempt to braid the pcs together into two loaves. Tuck and pinch the end pieces under so they don't break open while baking/rising. Make sure to leave space between the loaves so that they can spread out and fully cook.
Cover again and let rise in a warm spot for 30 minutes. Bake at 375* for 30 minutes. They're done when you thump the top lightly with a wooden spoon and it sounds hollow. :)
Just typing it makes me want to make it again- but I'm already having a hard time buttoning my fat jeans- so I think I'll lay off for a while. Speaking of fat jeans, I highly recommend eating this bread warm with a smear of nutella. But don't blame me when your fat jeans get tight too... :)