Country White Bread

1-recipe_card_1 2-recipe_card_2

This is one of the two “basic” bread recipes that I grew up with. It makes either one large loaf, or as two smaller loaves. I prefer to make two smaller loaves; homemade bread does not keep for more than a few days, but it freezes wonderfully.

Currently, I am trying a few different methods to “re-shinify” my baking sheet. I have used it for many cooking projects, and it has some very stubborn stains. To be honest, I’m a little embarrassed to take photos with it. So far, boiling soapy water and a scraper have not yielded any useful results, and neither has soaking it overnight. I have read that Bar Keeper’s Friend and steel wool has worked well for a few people. If you have any suggestions, please leave them in the comments!

In this recipe, I have chosen to list the water at the times when it is used, because it is added at two different temperatures (warm and cold). I hope that this is not confusing to anyone: if it is, let me know what would work better for you! I am always trying to improve my recipe-writing skills, and I welcome constructive feedback.

Ingredients:

  • 1 package dry yeast
  • 2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons white sugar, divided
  • 3 1/2 cups white flour, divided
  • 2 teaspoons salt

Directions:

3-mix_yeast

In a 2-cup Pyrex measure, stir together the yeast, 1/2 cup of warm water, 2 teaspoons of the sugar, and 1/2 cup of the flour.

4-pour_yeast

In a large bowl, measure out 2 1/2 cups of flour, and pour the yeast mixture over this flour. Do not stir.

Cover the bowl with a dish towel, and set it in a warm place to rest for 45 minutes.

5-mix_dough

After this rest period, add 3/4 cups of cold water, the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and the salt. Mix well, until all ingredients are incorporated.

6-knead_dough

Knead this dough for 10-15 minutes by hand, adding flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and stretchy. If you have a stand mixer, pop in your dough hook and knead by mixer for 8-10 minutes. If you’re not sure whether or not your dough is kneaded, I recommend checking the excellent guide found over at theKitchn.

7-greased_bowl

Turn the dough into a greased bowl, and turn it over. The top and bottom of the dough ball should be well greased.

Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel, and set it in a warm place to rise until double, approximately 1 hour.

8-risen_dough

This is what the dough should look like when it has risen.

Punch down the risen dough, and knead it by hand for 1-2 minutes.

Shape the dough into 1 or 2 round loaves.

9-two_loaves

Place the loaf or loaves on a generously floured baking sheet, and sprinkle the top(s) with flour.

Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.

Cover the bread with a dish towel, and allow it to rise until double, approximately 30 minutes.

Bake for 35 minutes if you have made a single loaf, 25 minutes for two smaller loaves, or until the bread is golden brown.

10-finished

Serve with your choice of jam, marmalade, jelly, butter, or melted cheese.

Click here for a print-friendly version.

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2 thoughts on “Country White Bread

  1. Maria, my cookie sheets – cake pans – jelly roll (half sheet) pans – even the ones I didn’t inherit from my mother – look absolutely terrible. Steel wool is probably the only thing that would dislodge the grunge – once it’s baked on, well…eeeew. Sometimes I cover the cookie sheets with foil just to hide the yuckiness…

    1. I had thought about using foil, but I felt a little bit like that was cheating :p Still, it would make a nicer picture for public consumption.

      Someday, perhaps, I will wake up in the world of Better Homes and Gardens or Saveur, where everything is always new and perfect, and every dish has an appropriate garnish / table setting / color coordination / professional photographer. Until then… aluminum foil is starting to sound pretty good!

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