• Mixing the dough by hand:
Combine flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, mashed potato flakes, dried onion flakes, dill seed and dill weed with a whisk or fork in a large mixing bowl. Add the warm water and butter into the flour mixture and use a sturdy spoon to combine into a shaggy dough. Use your hands to knead for 8 minutes*. After kneading for 8 minutes, cover the bowl with a clean tea towel and let rise in a warm place for 15 minutes.
*If you find it difficult to knead in the bowl, you can turn the dough out onto a clean surface to knead it. After kneading, just return the dough to the bowl and allow it to rise as instructed above.
• Divide the dough
Whatever method used, after rising, turn dough out onto a clean surface and divide in half. Form each half into a ball and place 5-6 inches apart on a baking sheet that has been lined with parchment paper or a silpat, or has been lightly greased. Use a sharp knife to slash the top of the loaf about ¼ inch deep. This allows the steam to escape the baking loaf.
• To bake the loaves:
Arrange the racks in your cold oven so that one rack is on the very bottom and one is positioned in the center of the oven. Place the baking sheet with the loaves on the center rack and a bread or cake pan that is full of very hot tap water on the bottom rack. Close the oven and turn your oven on to 400°. It is imperative that you start this in a cold oven! Set your timer for 40 minutes. Those 40 minutes are all that stand between you and fresh bread.
The crust should be a deep brown and quite firm when you remove the loaves from the oven. Transfer the loaves to a rack, brush with additional melted butter, and cool completely before slicing. Makes two loaves.
I want to share one of my family's most treasured recipes; my Grandma Shaffer's Buttermilk Cornbread. This is far and away the best cornbread I have ever eaten in my life. It is the standard by which I judge all other cornbreads. Once you've tried a wedge or square of this with a dripping pat of butter melting over the edges you'll understand my devotion. If cornbread dressing is in your plans this Thanksgiving, look no further than this perfect cornbread. (The recipe for Grandma Shaffer's Cornbread Dressing can be found at www.foodiewithfamily.com.)