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Friendship Bread

5 1/2 to 6 cups bread flour
3 Tbsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 pk active dry Yeast
2 cup water
1/4 cup oil

Lightly spoon flour into measuring cup; level off. In large bowl,
combine 2 cups flour, sugar, salt and yeast; blend well. In small
saucepan, heat water and oil until very warm (120-130F.). Add warm
liquid to flour mixture. Blend at low speed until moistened; beat
3 minutes at medium speed. Stir in additional 3 1/2 to 4 cups flour,
until dough pulls cleanly away from sides of bowl. On floured
surface, knead dough until smooth and elastic, about 10 mins.
Place dough in greased bowl; cover loosely with plastic wrap and
cloth towel. Let rise in warm place (80-85 degrees F.) until light
and doubled in size, about 1 1/2 hrs. Punch down dough several
times to remove air bubbles. Allow to rest on board covered with
inverted bowl for 14 mins. Shape as desired.

6 SMALL LOAVES: Grease 6 6x3" loaf pans. Or, if desired, grease
two cookie sheets to make free form loaves. Divide dough into 6
parts. Remove air pockets by working dough with hands and rolling
into 6 10x5" rectangles. Starting from shorter side, roll up,
pinching edges firmly to seal. For free-form loaves, taper ends
slightly. Place seam-side-down on prepared pan. Cover; let rise in
warm place until light and double in size, about 45 mins. Heat over
to 375 degrees F. Bake for 25-35 mins., until loaves sound hollow
when lightly tapped. Remove from pans immediately. Cool on wire

6 SMALL BRAIDS: Grease 2 cookie sheets. Divide dough into 6 parts.
Remove air pockets by working dough with hands. Roll each part into
an 6x3" rectangle. Cut each rectangle lengthwise into 3 6x1" strips.
Braid strips together, tuck ends under and seal. Repeat with
remaining dough. Place on prepared cookie sheets. Cover; let rise
in warm place until doubled in size, about 45 mins. Heat oven to
375 degrees F. Bake for 25-35 mins. until loaves sound hollow when
lightly tapped. Remove from pans immediately; cool on wire racks.

TO DECORATE: Make small 1/2" slit in top crust of each loaf; insert
shinny copper penny. Tie loaves with ribbon and decorate with small
sheaf of wheat or other grain, dried flowers, silk flours or dried
berries. Attach friendship note which will follow on last note.

TO PRESERVE BREAD: Allow loaves to dry in cook dry place for several
days until VERY HARD. Spray or brush clear, glossy polyurethane or
spray clear, glossy resin around loaf. Let dry; repeat with second
coat. When dry, decorate as desired.

TIP: Loaves may be brushed with mixture of 1 egg white and 1 Tbsp.
water before baking. If desired, sprinkle with sesame or poppy

For crusty topped loaves, set small pan of water in oven while
bread is baking.


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