Relishing English Muffin Bread
I am a sucker for English muffins with all their crisp nooks and crannies.
I’ve even made my own from scratch. While they’re divine, they are a laborious process that will occupy most of an afternoon.
But “English Muffin Bread” from Cook’s Country magazine streamlines that by forgoing making individual rounds for two loaves instead. You don’t even need a mixer, either.
Instead, the bread flour, yeast, sugar, salt, baking soda, and warm milk all get mixed together with a wooden spoon to form a sticky, shaggy dough.
It’s left to rise for half an hour, during which it will become more cohesive. Next, divide the dough into two loaf pans that have been dusted with cornmeal that will help give that familiar sandy, teeth-crunching exterior.
After a second rise, the loaves go into the oven to bake, filling your kitchen with a delightful yeasty, toasty aroma.
When they’re done, let cool, then slice and toast to enjoy.
You won’t get noticeable nooks and crannies in these loaves, but a more delicate, tighter crumb that’s wonderfully soft and chewy. Slicing the bread roughs up the crumb just enough so that when toasted, these tiny edges do get crisp and golden.
Slather with butter and your favorite preserves, then indulge in a big bite.
The overall effect is reminiscent in taste of an English muffin — with far less work.
And that’s a major win any way you slice it.
English Muffin Bread
(Makes 2 loaves)
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 8 1/2-by-4 1/2-inch loaf pans and dust with cornmeal. Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in hot milk until combined, about 1 minute. Cover dough with greased plastic wrap and let rise in warm place for 30 minutes, or until dough is bubbly and has doubled.
Stir dough and divide between prepared loaf pans, pushing into corners with greased rubber spatula. (Pans should be about two-thirds full.) Cover pans with greased plastic and let dough rise in warm place until it reaches edge of pans, about 30 minutes. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
Discard plastic and transfer pans to oven. Bake until bread is well browned and registers 200 degrees, about 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.
From Cook’s Country