English Muffin Bread
My husband isn’t a sweet breakfast sort of guy. I mean if I make French toast or pancakes, he wouldn’t turn them down or anything. But, he would much rather have a savory breakfast sandwich any day. Justin’s first choice of bread for his sandwich would be a pretzel roll, with an English muffin as a close second. But, it can’t be just any English muffin. Nope, it has to be Bays, definitely not a Thomas. Now, I know I cannot be the only one who hates the Bays’ packaging. If you remove a few muffins, you can roll the end of the package over to sort of seal it. Or, you can do as I usually do and throw them all in a Ziploc bag. I don’t know why, but this drives me so crazy every time I open a package! Anyways, to surprise my husband, I wanted to try my hand at making homemade English muffins. But, then I saw this bread recipe. Perfect. I get the same taste and texture of English muffins, while omitting the shaping and frying steps.
I, like many bakers, get a bit intimidated by yeast. But, I have gotten better with practice, a digital scale for flour and a thermometer to measure water temperature. Looking at the recipe, it didn’t look too much harder than a quick bread, except you need to allot time for 2 rises. It wasn’t hard at all. Really. This is a great bread to tackle your fear of yeast! The bread bakes up with a beautiful crispy crust, which envelopes the chewy interior of nooks and crannies, just waiting to be filled with melted butter. I enjoyed my bread toasted with butter (real please) and some strawberry jelly. My husband had his favorite egg, cheese and bacon breakfast sandwich and ate some more as toast. I think he ate a whole loaf by himself. It’s a good thing this recipe makes two!
English Muffin Bread
Yield: 2 loaves
Cornmeal (for dusting)
5 cups (27 1/2 ounces) bread flour
4 1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups whole milk, heated to 120 degrees
Grease two 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan. Dust with cornmeal. Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda in large bowl. Stir in hot milk until combined, ~1 minute. Cover the dough with greased plastic wrap. Let rise in warm place for 30 minutes, or until dough is bubbly and has doubled.
Stir dough and divide between prepared loaf pans. Push the dough into the corners with greased rubber spatula. The pans should be about two-thirds full. Cover the pans with greased plastic. Let the dough rise in warm place until it reaches edge of pans, ~ 30 minutes. Adjust the oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
Discard plastic and put the pans in the oven. Bake until bread is well browned and registers 200 degrees, ~ 30 minutes, rotating and switching pans halfway through baking. Turn bread out onto wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Slice, toast, and serve.
Source: Cook’s Country April/May 2012