Friday, February 19, 2016

Country White Bread

I got a message from my son yesterday "you think I could bribe you into baking a loaf of your famous white bread sometime?" Well heck yeah! Anytime my kids want something of "Mommy's", I will deliver!

A few years ago I bought The Panera Bread Cookbook, and in spite of the fact that many of the reviewers claim the bread recipes are not Panera Bread recipes, the ones that are included are excellent. With the exception of the sourdough bread recipes, each bread recipe uses the same base. The method is a different one than my other bread recipes and involves creating a starter first. Since the starter only ferments for 30 minutes, it is not a lengthy process and always results in a delicious bread. Wheat Bread with Bacon and Onion (I added cheese too) is perfect for sandwiches, and Honey Wheat Bread is excellent toasted.

I used a standard 8x4 loaf pan for one, and it made a perfectly shaped loaf (pictured above). For the other I used a shallow glass baking pan, and the loaf is squatty; but my son doesn't care how they look!

I made one change in the recipe - I used vegetable oil instead of vegetable shortening.

Country White Bread
adapted from The Panera Bread Cookbook

1 cup warm water
1 teaspoon active dry yeast
1 cup unbleached flour

3/4 cup warm water
3 tablespoons honey
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup plus 1 teaspoon vegetable oil
4-3/4 cups unbleached flour
1 tablespoon salt

To create starter, combine water and yeast in medium bowl. Stir to dissolve yeast fully. Add flour and stir until ingredients are fully incorporated. Cover with cloth and ferment at room temperature for 30 minutes.

For dough, combine water, honey, and yeast in bowl of stand mixer. Stir to dissolve yeast fully. Add oil, flour, salt, and fermented starter. Mix on low speed until dough is fully developed. (I switched to the dough hook for about 5 minutes.) Remove dough from mixing bowl.

Divide dough into two pieces weighing about 22 ounces each. Form each into smooth ball. Place dough pieces on counter or proofing basket and cover with warm, damp cloth. Rest at room temperature for 30 minutes.

Prepare 2 loaf pans by greasing with shortening. Form dough into loaf shapes and place in pans. Cover with warm, damp cloth. Let rest at room temperature 30 minutes.

In the meantime preheat oven to 400ºF. Bake loaves 30 - 40 minutes, or until the crust is golden brown. (I baked at 375ºF in my convection oven, and reduced to 350ºF after 20 minutes, but that's just me and my oven!)

Remove bread from oven, remove loaves from pan, place on cooling rack, and let cool about 30 minutes.


  1. Beautiful loaves of bread. I really love GOOD bread and sometimes make it myself, but usually buy it from a little bakery near us. I do make my own dough for pizza, but it is a quick dough. Flavor is developed by a slow rise or a starter. Now I want to give your recipe a try!!!

    1. Thank you so much Sharon! You are lucky to have a good bakery nearby. My hat is off to you for making your own pizza dough!

  2. Oh my...what great memories you brought back! I use to have a bread maker and make our own bread too. GOtta love the wonderful aroma of bread baking.....oh and then that first buttery bite! YUM!

  3. This looks BEAUTIFUL! Am I reading this right? There is NO KNEADING? None? And you get a loaf that looks this good? I may have to try this. I tend to let the ABM do the work for me because I am a poor kneader.

    1. No kneading except for the dough hook Pattie! Yes it makes a very nice dough. I'm sorry you're a poor kneader - lol - but I've seen your bread machine results and they are spectacular.

  4. Oh, yum! There is nothing better than homemade bread! Thanks for sharing your recipe!

  5. It must be the season for baking. I have made several loaves of bread lately. Also I have been baking rolls. Yum. Perfect for winter!

    1. I'd love to see your recipes Bernie!


Thank you so much for your comment. I will reply to you right below your comment. :)