Breadmaking: Country Loaf

Every week the boys and I try out new ways/methods of bread baking, so we can continue to learn. I wasn’t 100% impressed with this past week’s loaf, but it had a great taste and a good crunch. It needed to be baked in a cast iron pan rather than a baking sheet, as it spread too far. It needed confinement so that it would go up rather than out. But as an experiment, I wanted to see how it would perform. That is to me half of what bread making is: a science experiment. It’s great homeschooling fodder for sure.

This loaf of bread has more hands-on time than we usually make, with three separate times you must pay attention. So not a busy day bread. Make sure you will be at home for a good 5 hours time.

Country Loaf


  • 5½ cups all-purpose or bread flour
  • 1 tsp granulated sugar
  • 2¼ tsp quick active yeast (1 packet)
  • 2 cups water (120-130°)
  • 2 Tbsp olive or avocado oil + for bowl
  • 2 tsp sea salt


We live in a cooler home, so I use a heating pad set to middle heat for even rising. I plug it in and get it preheated while I start the dough.

Mix 2 cups flour, sugar, and yeast in a large bowl.

Stir in the water with a whisk, then beat for a minute until well mixed.

Cover with plastic wrap, set aside for an hour in a warm spot.

Stir in the oil and salt, then the remaining flour, ½ cup, until a soft and smooth dough forms.

Flour a work surface, knock the dough out. Knead for 10 minutes by hand, adding flour until the dough is smooth and springy.

Lightly oil a large bowl, place dough in and flip it over to coat it in oil. Cover with plastic wrap.

Let sit in a warm area to rise again, about an hour.

Take a rimmed baking sheet, lightly oil it. (See the above recipe about using a cast iron pan instead. Lightly oil it.)

Place the dough on a lightly floured surface. Gently shape the dough into a ball, folding the dough under to make a smooth top. Place the smooth side up on the baking sheet (or cast iron pan). Cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place for an hour.

In the last 15 minutes, fill an 8″x 8″ glass baking pan with hot water, place it in the oven’s bottom rack, and preheat the oven to 425°.

Make 2 or 3 slashes on the dough with a sharp serrated knife. It desired, sprinkle with a bit of flour across the top first.

Place the bread in the oven and bake for 40 minutes or until the loaf is golden brown and sounds hollow when rapped with knuckles.

Removc from sheet or pan, let cool on a rack.

Makes 1 loaf.