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Country’s White Bread

Country’s White Bread Recipe

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Country’s White Bread is a classic homemade bread recipe that’s perfect for sandwiches, toast, or simply enjoyed fresh out of the oven. This recipe yields a soft and fluffy loaf with a golden crust, using simple ingredients you likely already have in your kitchen. Follow these step-by-step instructions to create your own delicious homemade bread.

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Ingredients

  • 1 packet (2 1/4 tsp) dry active yeast
  • 1 cup warm water (about 110°F)
  • 1 large egg
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 1/4 cup granulated sugar
  • 3 tbsp oil (vegetable or canola)
  • 3 to 4 cups all-purpose flour

Instructions

Step 1: Activate the Yeast

  1. In a small bowl, dissolve the yeast in warm water. Let it sit for about 5-10 minutes until frothy and bubbly. This indicates that the yeast is active.

Step 2: Mix the Dough

  1. In a large mixing bowl or the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with a dough hook, combine the activated yeast mixture, egg, salt, sugar, and oil.
  2. Gradually add the flour, one cup at a time, mixing well after each addition, until a soft dough forms.

Step 3: Knead the Dough

  1. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead the dough for about 8-10 minutes until it becomes smooth and elastic. Alternatively, knead the dough with the dough hook attachment on low speed for 5-7 minutes.

Step 4: First Rise

  1. Place the dough in a greased bowl, turning once to coat the dough. Cover with a clean kitchen towel or plastic wrap.
  2. Allow the dough to rise in a warm, draft-free place for about 1 to 1.5 hours, or until doubled in size.

Step 5: Shape the Loaf

  1. Punch down the dough to release air bubbles. Turn it out onto a lightly floured surface and shape it into a loaf.
  2. Place the shaped dough into a greased 9×5-inch loaf pan. Cover loosely with a kitchen towel and let it rise again for about 30-45 minutes, or until it rises just above the rim of the pan.

Step 6: Bake

  1. Preheat your oven to 350°F (175°C).
  2. Bake the bread for 30-35 minutes, or until golden brown on top and sounds hollow when tapped on the bottom.

Step 7: Cool and Serve

  1. Remove the bread from the oven and let it cool in the pan for 10 minutes. Then, transfer the loaf to a wire rack to cool completely before slicing.

Cooking Notes

  • Yeast Activation: Ensure the water is warm but not too hot to avoid killing the yeast. It should feel comfortably warm to the touch.
  • Flour Amount: The amount of flour may vary depending on humidity and other factors. Start with 3 cups and add more as needed until the dough is smooth and slightly tacky.
  • Storage: Store the cooled bread in an airtight container or zip-top bag at room temperature for up to 3-4 days. It can also be frozen for longer storage.

Variations

  • Whole Wheat Bread: Substitute half or all of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour for a heartier loaf.
  • Herb Bread: Add dried herbs like rosemary, thyme, or basil to the dough for a savory twist.
  • Cheese Bread: Mix in shredded cheese, such as cheddar or Parmesan, into the dough before baking.

Additional Tips for Perfect Country’s White Bread

Baking Tips

  • Oven Temperature: Ensure your oven is properly preheated to 350°F (175°C) before baking. This helps achieve even baking and a golden crust.
  • Loaf Pan Size: Use a standard 9×5-inch loaf pan for this recipe. If using a different size, adjust baking time accordingly.
  • Checking Doneness: To ensure the bread is fully baked, insert a toothpick into the center of the loaf. It should come out clean or with a few dry crumbs attached.

Serving Suggestions

Country’s White Bread is versatile and can be enjoyed in various ways:

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  • Toast: Slice the bread and toast until golden brown. Serve with butter and your favorite jams or spreads.
  • Sandwiches: Use thick slices of this bread for sandwiches with your favorite fillings, such as deli meats, cheeses, and fresh vegetables.
  • French Toast: Transform leftover slices into delicious French toast by dipping them in a mixture of beaten eggs, milk, and cinnamon, then frying until golden.

Storage Tips

  • Room Temperature: Store the cooled bread in a bread box or wrapped in a clean kitchen towel at room temperature for up to 3-4 days.
  • Freezing: To freeze, wrap the cooled bread tightly in plastic wrap and then in foil or place it in a freezer-safe bag. Freeze for up to 1-2 months. Thaw at room temperature before slicing and serving.

Healthier Options

  • Whole Wheat Variation: For a healthier option, replace half or all of the all-purpose flour with whole wheat flour. This adds fiber and nutrients to your bread.
  • Reduced Sugar: If you prefer less sweetness, reduce the amount of granulated sugar in the recipe. You can also experiment with honey or maple syrup as natural sweeteners.

Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs)

1. Can I use instant yeast instead of active dry yeast?

Yes, you can substitute instant yeast for active dry yeast in this recipe. Use the same amount of instant yeast, but you can skip the step of proofing the yeast in warm water.

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2. Can I make this bread without a stand mixer?

Absolutely! You can mix and knead the dough by hand. It will require a bit more effort, but the results will be equally delicious.

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3. How can I tell if the dough has been kneaded enough?

The dough should be smooth and elastic. When you press your finger into it, the dough should spring back slowly. Over-kneaded dough may become tough, so stop kneading once you reach the right consistency.

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4. Can I add herbs or other flavors to this bread?

Certainly! Feel free to add herbs like rosemary, thyme, or even garlic powder to the dough for added flavor. Fold them in during the kneading process.

Mastering the art of baking bread at home is a rewarding experience that brings joy to both the baker and those who enjoy the delicious results. With this Country’s White Bread recipe, you have all the tools and guidance to create a loaf that’s soft, flavorful, and perfect for any occasion. Whether you’re a seasoned baker or just starting out, enjoy the process of baking and savor the delightful aroma of freshly baked bread in your kitchen.

Share your baking adventures and any tips you have for making the perfect loaf in the comments below. Stay tuned for more baking inspiration and recipes!

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Happy baking!