A firm, chewy white bread -- great for hearty sandwiches, for croutons, or as a canapé base. The finished loaves are a lovely golden brown, with high, straight sides.
4 cups lukewarm water
1/3 cup shortening, melted (chicken fat, bacon fat, margarine, or lard)
1/3 cup sugar
1 cake or 1 tablespoon dry yeast, softened in 1/2 cup lukewarm water
1 tablespoon salt
12 cups flour, or enough to make a dough you can knead
Combine ingredients and knead the dough until it is smooth and elastic. Allow to rise until double in volume (about 1 hour, 45 minutes), then punch down, divide into quarters, and place in 4 greased 9x5-inch loaf pans. Allow dough to rise again until double in volume (about 1 hour). Put into a 400 degrees F oven for 15 minutes to "puff" the bread, then reduce to 325 degrees F for about 45 minutes.