Tassajara Yeasted Bread

Makes 2 loaves

Adapted by Molly O’Neill of The New York Times

Many of us began our bread-making lives by consulting the Tassajara Bread Book from the famous Buddhist retreat. This recipe takes several hours from start to finish, but most of the time is rising.

  • 2 packages dry yeast (1½ tablespoons)
  • 3 cups warm water (85°–105°)
  • ¼ cup honey, molasses, or brown sugar
  • 1 cup dry milk
  • 7–8 cups whole wheat flour
  • 4 teaspoons salt
  • ⅓ cup neutral oil
  • 1 egg, beaten with 2 tablespoons water, for egg wash

In a large bowl, dissolve yeast in water. Stir in sweetener and dry milk, then 4 cups of flour to form a thick batter. Beat 100 times with a wooden spoon. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise 45 minutes. Beat in salt, oil, and 3 more cups of flour until dough begins to separate from the bowl. Turn out onto a floured board and knead, using up to 1 more cup of flour, for 10 minutes, or until smooth and elastic. Return to an oiled bowl, cover, and let rise for 50–60 minutes in a warm spot, or until doubled. Punch down and let rise again until doubled, about 40–50 minutes. Shape into two round loaves and place on a parchment-covered baking sheet. Cover with a towel and let rise 20–25 minutes. Meanwhile, preheat the oven to 350°. Brush egg wash over the top of each loaf and bake for 55–60 minutes, or until golden brown and hollow sounding when tapped on the bottom.