Country White Bread


Hello loves. Today I'm sharing a super easy recipe for country white bread. If you decide to give this bread a whirl, make sure you read my warning at the bottom of this post. I'd hate for anyone else to do what I did last night. Despite my little accident, the bread turned out delicious. It's simple white bread, but from the waiting for it to rise, to the help Ry gave me in the kitchen, to the smell of bread baking in the house, it was a joyful process done with care (next time it'll be done with even more care). I love the rustic look with the crusty top and bottom. I plan to make more loaves to gift. This would be a great gift for your Mother's Day loves. Just wrap it in wax paper, tie with twine, insert a flower or leaves from the yard, and include a handwritten note. I'll instagram a photo of mine later @wendycorreen

It only takes three ingredients plus water. And no kneading. The last bread I baked took a lot of work, whereas this one takes a little patience. Something I'm learning to embrace each day. 

The orange measuring cup used to belong to my grandma. I can't tell you how many times I watched her using them in the kitchen as she baked for our family. 











Ingredients
3 cups all-purpose or bread flour, more for dusting
1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 1/4 teaspoons salt
Cornmeal or wheat bran as needed (I only used flour)

Step 1
In a large bowl combine flour, yeast and salt. Add 1 5/8 cups water, and stir until blended; dough will be shaggy and sticky. Cover bowl with plastic wrap. Let dough rest at least 12 hours, preferably about 18, at warm room temperature, about 70 degrees.

Step 2
Dough is ready when its surface is dotted with bubbles. Lightly flour a work surface and place dough on it; sprinkle it with a little more flour and fold it over on itself once or twice. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and let rest about 15 minutes.

Step 3
Using just enough flour to keep dough from sticking to work surface or to your fingers, gently and quickly shape dough into a ball. Generously coat a cotton towel (not terry cloth) with flour, wheat bran or cornmeal; put dough seam side down on towel and dust with more flour, bran or cornmeal. Cover with another cotton towel and let rise for about 2 hours. When it is ready, dough will be more than double in size and will not readily spring back when poked with a finger.

Step 4
At least a half-hour before dough is ready, heat oven to 450 degrees. Put a 6- to 8-quart heavy covered pot (cast iron, enamel, Pyrex or ceramic) in oven as it heats. I used our deep multi-purpose Calphalon pot. When dough is ready, carefully remove pot from oven. Slide your hand under towel and turn dough over into pot, seam side up; it may look like a mess, but that is O.K. With oven mitt on shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed; it will straighten out as it bakes. Cover with lid and bake 30 minutes, then remove lid and bake another 15 to 30 minutes, until loaf is beautifully browned. Cool on a rack.


This is my warning portion. I hate that a beautiful post about rustic country bread has to end like this, but I made a really dumb move as I was getting ready to put the dough in the oven. Ry and I were in the kitchen together, and he was helping me get the dough from the towel into the pot that we had just removed from the 450 degree oven. I had taken my oven mitts off at this time. We got the dough in the bottom of the pot. I was reading my recipe from NY Times and it said to shake pan once or twice if dough is unevenly distributed. You'll notice the warning I added to the recipe above. Ry had just said, "now don't grab the pot." And within seconds of him saying that I read the directions again and grabbed the pot handles with my bare hands to shake the dough in place. He had said that to me because he knew instinctively an empty pot could be grabbed with bare hands, and I've never put a pot like this in the oven to pre-heat before. It was a dumb move, but we both understood how it could happen. As you can imagine there was some hysteria in the kitchen at this point. I was freaking out. I thought I needed to go the hospital at first. Ry broke off some of the Aloe Vera plant that is in our kitchen window. We smeared the Aloe juice all over both of my hands and I was trying to figure out what all was burnt, because it felt like all of both hands were on fire. Ry got the dough in the oven, per my panicked request, and as that was baking he ran to the pharmacy and talked to the pharmacist about what to do. He came home with a bag full of gauze, burn spray, and Neosporin. He forgot the gauze tape, but he wrapped my fingers with the worst burns and tied it in a knot. I only had the gauze on for a few hours before taking it off to reapply the burn spray and then more Aloe. This morning I have small burns on the tip of most of my fingers, a blister on my thumb, and a bigger burnt area on my right hand. It's not as bad as I had originally thought it would be. I guess this comes with the territory of baking. Just make sure you are careful if you bake this bread, as I hope you do, because it's really easy and fun and delicious. 

With love xo
Wen
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Wendy Correen Smith
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  1. My grandma had the same orange measuring cups! This looks so delicious--bread is my weakness!

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