Every year our family loves to attend one if not several Civil War Reenactments. One of the most fascinating aspects of these events is touring their camps … and especially their food preparation. That is just me … the men in our house love to tour the armament and cannons and horses. The recipe below is an adaptation of a recipe a living historian gave me last summer. It had been in her family for a long time. It is absolutely delicious and so easy! The texture is wonderful … and truly, there is nothing like making bread outside! While they bake their bread over an open fire, we used briquettes.
3 cups warm water
1/2 cup butter, softened
1/2 cup sugar
2 1/2 teaspoon salt
4 1/2 teaspoon active-rise yeast (2 packages of yeast)
9 cups flour
Combine water, butter, sugar, salt and yeast. Let proof for 15 minutes. Add half of the flour and incorporate. Stir in remaining flour and turn out onto floured board. Knead bread for about 10 minutes or until elastic and smooth. Add up to 1/2 cup additional flour if needed.
Place dough into greased large pan, cover with plastic wrap and let rise until double.
After dough has risen, remove from bowl and deflate. Shape into ball and place into a 12-inch, 8-quart, cast iron dutch oven. Let rise until double, about an hour.
Place dutch oven over hot briquettes — 10 underneath the dutch oven and 16 on the top. Bake for about 30 minutes. Remove from the fire and let cool in pan.
To make removing the bread easier, we used a parchment dutch oven liner and was able to lift out the bread with a spatula.