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Black Pepper Bread

A surprising flavor no one will expect.

Yield: Makes 2 loaves, serves 24

Ingredients

  • 1 1/2 cups milk
  • 3 Tbs. granulated sugar
  • 1 tsp. dried basil
  • 1/4 cup butter
  • 2 packages rapid-rise dry yeast
  • 3/4 cup warm water (105-115 degrees F)
  • 7 cups unsifted all-purpose flour (or combine 3.5 cups all-purpose flour with 3.5 cups whole grain flour)
  • 1 egg
  • 1 1/2 tsp. cracked black pepper
  • 1 egg yolk beaten with 2 tablespoons water
  • cracked black pepper

Instructions

  1. Preheat oven to 375 degrees F
  2. In small saucepan, heat milk just until bubbles form around edge of pan; remove from heat
  3. Add sugar, basil, and butter; stir until butter is melted. Cool to lukewarm
  4. Sprinkle yeast over warm water in large bowl; stir until yeast is dissolved
  5. Stir in lukewarm milk mixture
  6. Add 3 cups flour and egg to mixture; beat 2 minutes with a spoon until batter is smooth
  7. Gradually add remaining flour and 1 1/2 tsp. black pepper, mixing with hands if necessary
  8. Knead dough on a lightly floured board for 10 minutes or until smooth and elastic
  9. Place dough in large greased bowl; turn over to bring greased side up. Cover and let rise in warm place (85 degrees F), free from drafts, until double in bulk (about 45 minutes to one hour)
  10. Punch dough down; divide dough in half
  11. Cut one half into 3 equal parts; roll each to make a 20-inch strip, tapering ends
  12. Braid strips together; pinch ends to seal. Place on large 17 x 11-inch greased baking sheet
  13. Repeat with remaining dough and place on same baking sheet
  14. Cover with clean towel; let rise again until double (about 45 minutes)
  15. Brush surface of breads with egg yolk mixture and sprinkle on cracked black pepper to taste
  16. Bake for 30 to 35 minutes or until golden brown
  17. Serve cool or slightly warm with softened butter or margarine


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