I used to bake quite a bit, but when we moved last spring and life got hectic, it was awfully easy to just grab a couple loaves of bread at the store and come home, saving time and energy for other things. So yesterday I got out my bread pans, set up the mixer and laughed at the fact that my husband and my kids COULD NOT wait for the bread to get done!
The recipe I used, Country White Bread, comes from Gina at Home Joys and if you've never visited her blog, you really need to. Not only does she have a lot of great recipes and tutorials, but her blog is such a warm and inviting place as she talks about her life and devotion to God, her husband and their beautiful children. Truly.......a MUST read!
This recipe will give you three nice loaves of bread, which worked out great because I have the larger loaf pans for this, although it's just as easy to divide the dough between smaller pans if that's all you have.
Country White Bread
2 Tbsp. yeast
2 cups warm water
1/4 cup honey or sugar
1 Tbsp. salt
2 eggs, beaten
1/4 cup vegetable oil or soft butter
6 1/2 to 7 cups all-purpose flour
I mixed mine a little different than Gina did in her recipe, (I used my Kitchenaid mixer with a dough hook) but as in her directions, you can mix this in a large bowl. If you have a bread machine, you can use it to knead the dough as well. Whichever is easiest for you. Just a quick note.......if you do try this recipe please make sure you give Gina credit for it and link it back to her, and make sure you drop her a note on her blog and tell her how wonderful it is.
In a measuring cup, add 2 cups lukewarm water and the sugar or honey. Stir until dissolved, then add the yeast. Set aside and allow to yeast to activate and get bubbly, about 10-15 minutes.
While waiting on the yeast, put the salt, eggs, oil, and 3 cups of flour into the mixer bowl. Turn on low speed and add the yeast. Once the flour has mostly been incorporated into the wet ingredients, turn up to medium speed, stopping once in a while to scrape the sides and bottom of the bowl with a spatula.
Now is the time to start adding the remaining flour, a little at a time until you have a soft dough. Of the 7 cups of flour I started out with, I think I had about a cup or so left but that's ok. You may not need it all.
Put the dough into a bowl with a bit of vegetable oil making sure the dough is evenly coated, cover with plastic wrap and a warm towel and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour.
Punch dough down and divide into 3 equal pieces. Roll the dough out, then roll up like a jelly roll, pinch ends and tuck under placing loaves in the pans seam side down.
Let dough rise until doubled, bake in a pre-heated 375 degree oven for 25-30 minutes (mine was done in 20 minutes). Remove pans from oven and allow to cool.
If making multiple loaves just slice each loaf, put in bags and store in the freezer. Make sure you write the date on the bag and what kind of bread it is.
First loaf sliced and ready for the freezer.......
Two of my loaves didn't raise quite as much as the third one did, and that might be because when I divided the dough they weren't exactly equal, but I wasn't disappointed at all with how they came out.
The bread wasn't heavy or dense, but perfectly light and it sliced wonderfully without tearing or falling apart.
It really made me feel good to make this bread for my family, and it gave me a great sense of accomplishment, too.
Thanks, Gina, for a wonderful recipe. My family says it's AWESOME bread!