Country White Bread
1 package dry yeast
2 tablespoons plus 2 teaspoons white sugar, divided
3 1/2 cups white flour, divided
2 teaspoons salt
In a 2-cup Pyrex measure, stir together the yeast, 1/2 cup of warm water, 2 teaspoons of the sugar, and 1/2 cup of the flour.
In a large bowl, measure out 2 1/2 cups of flour, and pour the yeast mixture over this flour. Do not stir.
Cover the bowl with a dish towel, and set it in a warm place to rest for 45 minutes.
After this rest period, add 3/4 cups of cold water, the remaining 2 tablespoons of sugar, and the salt. Mix well, until all ingredients are incorporated.
Knead this dough for 10-15 minutes by hand, adding flour as needed, until the dough is smooth and stretchy. If you have a stand mixer, use the dough hook and knead for 8-10 minutes.
Turn the dough into a greased bowl, and turn it over. The top and bottom of the dough ball should be well greased.
Cover the bowl with a damp dish towel, and set it in a warm place to rise until double, approximately 1 hour.
Punch down the risen dough, and knead it by hand for 1-2 minutes.
Shape the dough into 1 or 2 round loaves.
Place the loaf or loaves on a generously floured baking sheet, and sprinkle the top(s) with flour.
Preheat the oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit.
Cover the bread with a dish towel, and allow it to rise until double, approximately 30 minutes.
Bake for 35 minutes if you have made a single loaf, 25 minutes for two smaller loaves, or until the bread is golden brown.