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Combine starter ingredients in a small bowl. Cover with saran wrap and place in a cool spot for about 12 hours.
In the bowl of a large standing mixer fitted with dough hook, add water, sugar and salt, lard, yeast and the starter. Scrape with spatula.
Dump in about 3.5 cups of flour and mix the dough for 10 minutes on medium. The dough should come clean from the sides of the bowl. If it does not, add a bit more flour as needed.
Let rise until doubled in bulk, about 1.5 hours.
Punch the dough down (or turn the mixer on for 30 seconds). Remove the blade and let rise until doubled in volume, about an hour. Cover with cloth so it doesn't dry out.
Cut into 2 or 3 even pieces.
Pat each piece flat with your hand. It shouldn't stick if the dough is the right consistency. Next, fold it in half, lengthwise. Take your hands and roll it into a long tube.
Preheat the oven to 400F.
Soak twine for a few minutes then squeeze the excess out and press into dough. Flip the dough over, on top of the twine, and let it rest about 20 minutes. (If you instead use metal skewers, press them into the dough, then flip them over and let them rest on top of the skewer for about 20 minutes).
Bake, skewer/twine side up (leaving them in), for about 20 minutes for 3 loaves, and 25 minutes for 2 loaves.