Frances’ Herbed Bread

Makes 2 loaves

3 envelopes yeast
1/4 cup warm water
2 cups scalded milk, cooled
2 tablespoons sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 tablespoon shortening
6–6 1/2 cup all purpose flour, sifted
2+ cloves garlic, pressed (or to taste)
1 cup chopped fresh dill*

Dissolve yeast with sugar in warm water, let sit until foamy, about 5–10 minutes. Combine milk, salt and shortening in a separate bowl; stir in 2 cups flour and combine with yeast mixture. Stir in garlic and dill. Add flour to dough, cup by cup, turning it out onto a floured surface to knead once it’s too stiff to stir. Knead dough for approximately 10 minutes, until satiny smooth, and shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl, covering with a damp towel, and let rise until dough doubles in size, about 1-1 1/2 hours. (It’s important to let dough rise in a warm area, not too hot or not too cold, about 70–75F.) Punch down and let rise until double again, about 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 350F. Cut dough in half, form into 2 loaves and place in greased, floured (or sprinkle with corn meal) loaf pans. Bake for about an hour, until golden brown. The bread is done when you can knock on the top of the loaf and it sounds hollow. Remove loaves from pans and cool on racks. It’s best hot and slathered with butter, but cuts better if you let it cool a bit first.

*I’ve made this with other herbs (marjoram, basil, rosemary), but I think the dill/garlic combination was the best. I’ve also made this with caramelized onions and dill, but add a little less liquid with this one.