Recipe Review: Country White Bread by Taste of Home

I love white bread but hate making it. I have tons of bread disaster stories under my belt.

Country white bread

 Since I am talking about it, here's a short story. When I just got into baking, I felt baking bread would be awesome and somewhat easy. I woke up one morning, got my ingredients together and began mixing.

There were numerous issues I see now which i did not notice previously. The recipe I followed was not very clear, it also called for strong bread flour which I did not have. I began kneading  by hand because my hand mixer was too weak for mixing the dough.

After I started kneading, I was to add some parsley or basil (not sure anymore). Instead, i added some chopped arugula, instead of the parsley or basil i had kept by the side. It took me a few minutes to realize what I did and till today, I can only blame the long kneading process for blocking my reasoning.

Back to the recipe.
My mom bought me 2 large Taste of Home cookbooks and I saw a country white bread recipe in one of them. The simple instructions and easy to find ingredients drew me to this bread recipe. Coincidentally, I had all the ingredients in my pantry so I made this recipe.  

Country white bread

Here are the different ways I made this recipe and the results i got.

  •  Baking the exact recipe
  • Using bread flour
  • Increasing the yeast in the recipe
  • Adding raisins
  • Using toppings

  • Baking the exact recipe

 This bread recipe is very basic and simple to follow. The ingredients are things that I am quite sure you have in your pantry. The recipe can be easily divided if you want just 1 loaf of country white bread.

Making the bread recipe as directed gave me a fluffy white bread. Perfect for making sandwiches, spreading on jam, and any other condiments that may come to mind.

The flavor of this bread though was lacking. I can eat bread without any spreads but this loaf of bread was practically crying out for some Nutella or sharp cheddar and tomatoes.

  • Using bread flour

 The first time I made this country white bread recipe was with bread flour. I did not want the flour in my pantry to expire so I made use of it.

The resulting bread was tall, fluffy and had a close texture (no large holes). The problem though was that the bread was flavorless. I realize that is suitable as a sandwich bread but I still thought it would have some sort of flavor. That said, it was still eaten pretty quickly in my home.

Country white bread

  • Increasing the yeast in the recipe

I made this recipe with more yeast than suggested once. The recipe calls for 1 7g package of yeast per loaf. The problem though was that I had a 10g package.

The bread dough rose too fast. The 2nd rise was even faster. However what I got with a fast rise time significantly reduced the flavor of this already flavor lacking bread.

  • Adding raisins

My mom loves raisins in her bread so I made this country white bread with rum soaked raisins too.

After deflating my dough after the first rise, I sprinkled rum soaked raisins on my dough and rolled it up. I was afraid that my dough might get soggy because of the soaked raisins.

This dough did not change though. This white bread baked up beautifully. However, i did not use a ton of raisins, i used about ¼ cup of raisins.

  • Using toppings

 I decided to try adding toppings on this country white bread. Initially, i used sugar chunks and granulated sugar, the result was a caramelized top that did not burn. A light sprinkling of streusel pressed on the dough also gives it a crunchy, butter flavored crust.

 On the other hand, rubbing butter on the top of this bread after taking out of the oven is amazing. It was slightly salty but nicely flavored.

 Add the toppings after the first rise and lightly press the toppings into the top of the dough.

Overall Observation

This country white bread recipe is easy to make but it is not my favorite. If you are looking for a simple white bread that you can use as a flavor carrier, you will love this recipe.

However, if you are like me and you prefer sweeter or better-flavored bread. This recipe is not for you.  You could try a sweeter bread dough recipe or a bread dough with longer rising time or even aromatics.

All this taken into consideration, this bread did not last 4 hours in my home.

I recommend that you try this recipe, especially as a novice baker. This is a great stepping stone to baking other yeast goods.

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