- 2 teaspoons active dry yeast
- ½ cup lukewarm water (110°F-115°F)
- ½ teaspoon granulated sugar
- ½ cup vegetable shortening or butter
- ½ cup granulated sugar
- 1 large egg, beaten
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- 2 cups milk, scalded and cooled to lukewarm
- 7 ½ -7 ¾ cups all-purpose flour or bread flour OR 4 cups whole wheat flour plus 3 1/4-3 1/2 cups all-purpose or bread flour
In small bowl, dissolve yeast in lukewarm water, stirring in ½ teaspoon sugar. Let stand 5 minutes.
In mixer bowl, beat shortening with ½ cup sugar; add egg, salt, cooled milk, and dissolved yeast.
Stir in flour a little at a time until dough is stiff enough to knead. Knead by hand or with dough hook 8 minutes or until smooth and elastic. Place in greased bowl; cover and let rise until doubled.
Punch down dough. Shape as desired.
Note: Dough may be kept covered in refrigerator for several days and used when needed.
Divide 1½ pounds of dough into 18 equal pieces. Roll out 8 (18″ ropes) and 8 (15″ ropes); cover. Tip: to roll dough evenly into a rope, start at the center and work toward the ends. On greased 12″ x 18″ baking sheet, place one 18″ rope lengthwise in center. Bend top to the left. Place a second 18″ rope beside the first rope, bending top to right. Repeat procedure.
Place one 15″ rope on each side bending top. Place remaining 15″ ropes on top of bottom layer, placing ropes to cover the space between bottom ropes.
Roll two pieces into thin ropes. Twist together and place across center, extending 1″ past sheaf. Cut off extra; pinch ends together and tuck under sheaf.
Cover; let rise 15-20 minutes. With scissors, make diagonal snips along bent “heads”. Beat 1 egg and 1 tablespoon water; brush on sheaf. Bake at 350°F, 20-25 minutes or until golden. If outer edges bake faster, tent with aluminum foil. Note: If you wish to use the sheaf for decoration, place it on a wire rack and let dry for several days.
You might also enjoy these fall bread shapes from NationalFestivalofBreads.com:
- Corn on the Cob
- Harvest Grapes
- Creeping Crawling Spider
- Wicked Witch
- Pumpkin Rosettes
- Mini Cornucopias
- Fall Festival Pretzels