Most anybody that cooks in a Dutch oven has a Sheepherders bread recipe and here is mine. Simple and straight forward but it is almost a no fail recipe. This placed second for me at this years Elk Festival dutch oven cook off. One of the best things about this bread is that when it is ready to serve you can just break off a "round" slice it up and then go to another one. No need to slice the whole thing ...just slice what you need.
SHEEPHERDER ROUND BREAD
2 ¼ CUPS WARM WATER
2 TABLESPOONS SUGAR
2 PACKAGES YEAST
1 TEASPOON SALT
2 TABLESPOONS CANOLA OIL
6 CUPS FLOUR (ALL PURPOSE)
Combine water and sugar, stir till sugar is dissolved. Add yeast, stir. Now add salt, oil, and 3 cups flour. Beat well. Add remaining flour and mix together with your hands. Let rest for 10 minutes then punch down. Let rest another 10 minutes then punch down again. Do this for a total of 5 punch downs. Turn bread out on a flour surface and knead 2 or 3 times. Shape the dough into a 18” long loaf.
Now pinch off 7 baseball sized rounds of dough and place in a greased 12” Dutch oven. Put 1 in the center and the other 6 surrounding the center one, touching but not packed.
Cover loosely and allow to rise for 30 minutes. Bake at 400º for 30 minutes till done.( I used 1 1/2 ring on top and 9 coals on the bottom..3 between each leg)Remove from Dutch oven and brush with a little melted butter.
To serve, pull one round of bread off and slice on a cutting board.
To get a more brown top, with about 10 minutes left in the cooking time, I pull a Paula Dean and pour a 1/2 stick of melted butter over the top and recover it and let it finish cooking.