Stir the Vegetable Shortening (2 tablespoon) into the Water (2 1/2 cup) until it melts completely and the water becomes lukewarm.
In a large bowl, place All-Purpose Flour (7 cup), Salt (1 teaspoon), Granulated Sugar (2 teaspoon), and Instant Dry Yeast (1 tablespoon) and give it a good mix to combine evenly. Now start adding the water a little at a time, until you have a soggy dough.
The dough will be very sticky and wet at this point. Dust a surface with flour and empty the dough onto it to knead. Knead for about 5 minutes, adding All-Purpose Flour (1 cup) as necessary until you have a well-formed dough ball. Soft, but firm.
It’s time to get the yeast active and allow the dough to swell. Spray a large bowl with cooking spray and place the dough in it to do its thing. With the dough in the bowl, cover it with plastic wrap (or use a damp towel) and set it in a warm corner of your kitchen. We’re looking for it to basically double in size. Which takes between 40 – 50 mins (depends on how active your yeast is and how warm your kitchen is).
Line your baking sheet with parchment paper or grease and dust with flour. Now remove the plastic wrap and punch the dough to release the air. Divide the dough into 12 even dough balls (about 3 inches in diameter) and set onto the parchment-lined baking sheet. We’ve got to allow this to proof again and double in size. Place a damp towel/cloth on top to keep the moisture in and so the top of the individual hops bread dough balls don’t dry out. Set aside in a warm corner of your kitchen to double in size. It should take about 45 minutes.
Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F (205 degrees C).
Set the tray on the middle rack to bake. It will take between 20-25 minutes (depends on your oven) to be nice and golden.
Allow the freshly baked hops bread to cool a bit before using them. They’re great for sandwiches or used as dinner rolls.