If one is fond of the color and the rather unusual flavor of saffron, this loaf is a happy change from traditional breads. It is rather light in texture, distinctive in flavor, and a deep orangey yellow. It makes fine toast.
Yields: 2 loaves
Pour the boiling water over the saffron and steep 5 minutes. Cool and reserve. Mix the yeast and sugar in the 1/2 cup warm water and let rise. Scald the milk and add the butter and salt. Cool.
Combine these three mixtures and blend well. Add the flour, 1 cup at a time, and beat hard with a wooden spoon. Use enough flour to make a stiff, sticky dough. Turn the dough out on a lightly floured
surface and knead until smooth and elastic. Shape the dough into a ball, put in a buttered bowl, and turn to coat the surface with butter. Cover, set in a warm, draft-free place, and let rise until
doubled in bulk. Punch down, turn out, and knead for another minute. Put back in the bowl to rise again until doubled in bulk. Punch down, shape into two loaves, and put in buttered 8 X 4 X 2-inch
loaf tins. Cover and let rise to double in bulk again.
Bake in a preheated oven at 425 degrees for 10 minutes, then lower the temperature to 350 degrees and continue baking for 20 to 25 minutes more, until the crust is a dark, lustrous color and the bread sounds hollow when rapped on top and bottom with the knuckles. Cool on racks before serving.
From the book of Beard on Bread by James Beard, 1973. Fifth Printing, Feb. 2002