I have a copy of this recipe out of a book. I got it from a friend, so I don't know the name of the cookbook. I thought it was a Willams-Sonoma book, but the bottom says The Amish Cook...so your guess is as good as mine I guess! I LOVE this bread. It usually only lasts one day!
1 (1/4 ounce) package active dry yeast (or 2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/2 cup plus 2 cups warm water or milk
1 heaping tablespoon lard or shortening
2 tablespoons sugar
1 tablespoon salt
7-8 cups all-purpose flour
1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in 1/2 cup warm water. In a large bowl (or your stand mixer) combine lard, sugar salt, and the remaining 2 cups of water.
2. Stir in the dissolved yeast and enough flour to make a soft, elastic dough that doesn't stick to the sides of the bowl. Cover with a loose piece of cheesecloth or plastic wrap and let rise till double (about 1 1/4 hours) in a warm, draft free place.
3. Punch the dough down, and divide it into 2 balls. Form 2 loaves in greased loaf pans. Cover with a damp cloth and let rise again until double (45-60 minutes).
4. Bake in a 325 degree oven for about 45 minutes. The bread will sound hollow when it's done. After removing the bread from the oven, brush the top with butter. This will make for a softer crust.