Ta da! One beautiful finished loaf. 

Old Fashioned White Loaf.  Sounds simple, doesn’t it?

And it was.  Honestly.

I pretty much followed the directions as written, except that I chose to sprinkle the top of my loaf with some “artisan bread topping” I found at King Arthur flour.   (And they have GREAT free recipes!)  It adds a touch of unexpected flavor.

The first rise took a full hour, and I used one of those handy six quart buckets (purchased at Amazon after I bought Artisan Breads in Five Minutes a Day. More on that book later.)

After an hour, the dough had doubled in size.

Ready for the oven. 

So I shaped it (very simple!) and put it in my bread dish.  It had risen beautifully even before the 45 minutes was up, so I applied the test explained in THE ART AND SOUL OF BAKING (hereafter known as TASB).  To wit:  I pushed my thumb into the side of the expanded loaf.  If it filled back in rapidly, the rise wasn’t done.  If it didn’t fill in at all, the bread was almost over proofed.  If it filled back in slowly, the bread was perfect.

My thumb indentation barely filled in at all, so I knew I had to get that puppy in the oven.  So I brushed on the egg wash, sprinkled it with the seeds and whatnot in the artisan bread topping, and settled in to watch the end of SHAWSHANK REDEMPTION as the bread baked.

Took it out after about 45 minutes, and it looked beautiful.  BUT–I’ve taken out beautiful loaves before, only to have them collapse a few minutes later because they weren’t done.  So I used another tip I learned from TASB, and that was to stab it with an instant read thermometer. If the bread is 200 degrees or better in the center, it’s done.

So I did, and it was.  Done.

I let it cool overnight, then this morning I wrapped it in plastic, put it in a large storage bag, sucked the air out with a straw, and put it in the freezer.  We’ll either eat it later or I’ll give it to someone with a pretty bow tied around it.  🙂

Babe oversees my projects. 

Shaped and in the pan. 

So–that first recipe is easy.  And if you want to try it, go to the Amazon link, click on “look inside this book” and search for “old fashioned white loaf.”   You should be able to get a good look at the instructions–and maybe enough of a look to try the recipe before you buy the book.

And a note to Pamela, whose baked goods taste good but don’t always LOOK good–I’ve been in that boat, too, and I’ve realized that sometimes it takes practice to make the thing look good.  The “failure” can come from some little thing like not having eggs at room temperature, not having butter at room temp, or one of those other little details that the typical recipe doesn’t tell you.  :-/   But it’s practice that makes perfect, so give it another go!  🙂


P.S.  Sorry that my pictures seem to come out in reverse order.  I’ll have to work on that.

P.S.S.  I’ve found a way you can post photos (videos, even) of YOUR creations!  There’s now a Lovin’ Oven Bakery page on Facebook, and you can upload your media there.  Be sure to tell us what you made and if you were happy with it.  🙂


  1. darien

    it looks great Angela! I too use a thermometer when I bake bread. One of the books I like is called the Bread Bible, by Rose Levy Beranbaum. She also said that the perfect loaf will “sing” to you when it is perfect. After you put it on the counter, it just might squeak and crackle a little. It’s only happened to me twice!

    I’m also totally loving your bread pan…and the instagrams. So cool.


  2. JoBea

    Angela! Congratulations on beginning with a success! You’re already better at this than you thought! Your bread looks very tempting but what I’m really curious about (since you kindly gave us lots of help on the bread) is that beautiful loaf pan. Is is silicone, ceramic, who makes it?

  3. Angela

    Thanks, Crystal and JoBea.

    That lovely loaf pan is handmade pottery, and I can’t remember where I bought it–probably on vacation somewhere. I love pottery, but hate things that aren’t useful, so I’m always looking for pretty pieces I can actually use. So–next time you’re in a pottery shop, see if they have a nice loaf pan or pie dish! 🙂

    (When it comes out of the dishwasher, I’ll see if it has an identifiable potter’s mark.)


  4. sparky_writer

    It looks awesome Angela! I have been recently baking a lot more too because I am running a dinner for my church on Wednesday nights. As a young and inexperienced cook, it has been quite crazy! Last week I tried to make Texas Sheet Cake…It tasted great, but looked absolutely awful! I’m in the process of making chocolate chip cookies right now, and they are turning out much better! Good luck with your baking!


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