September 12, 2013
English Muffin Bread
Last weekend my husband and I brewed our first batch of beer. Dear friends came over for football and dinner and walked us through the process. I was surprised how much I enjoyed the brewing until I realized how similar it is to baking. It's all about getting each ingredient added in the right proportion at the right time to get the final product the way you want it. The scientific element of baking never fails to appeal to my inner nerd.
One of the things we talked a lot about while brewing was the yeast. I was curious as to how similar it was to baking yeast...especially because I have a giant container of yeast in my freezer that I am not baking my way through fast enough! I'd hate for the yeast to die before I used it all.
Since it doesn't sound like I could use it to brew, I am determined to start baking more with it. I make breads and rolls occasionally that use yeast, but I don't think any have actually made it up on the blog yet. In an effort to get myself out of my baking comfort zone, I'm going to try to bake bread of some type once a week. Do you have any favorite bread recipes or ones you'd like to see here on the blog?
This English Muffin Bread has been on my radar for a while. It's fast and really simple for a yeast bread. Everything gets mixed up in two bowls and rises once for about an hour. Then it bakes for a little over 20 minutes. No kneading. No all day processes. It's not intimidating at all! I used my stand mixer for this, but it could be done with a handheld as well. The key to getting that traditional english muffin texture is the high speed mixing-it's what creates those air bubbles. The taste is the just like I hoped too. Perfect for breakfast or a little snack in the afternoon!
English Muffin Bread
adapted slightly from Brown Eyed Baker and King Arthur Flour
3 cups all purpose flour
1 tbsp granulated sugar
1 1/2 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
1 tbsp instant yeast
1 cup milk
2 tbsp vegetable oil
Put dry ingredients into the bowl of a stand mixer (or a large mixing bowl if using a hand held mixer) and briefly mix together.
Combine wet ingredients in a microwave safe bowl and heat until the temperature reaches between 120 and 130 degrees. (It will be hotter than lukewarm, but not so hot that you can't dip a finger in for more than a few seconds.)
Pour wet ingredients into dry and immediately begin beating for 1 minute at a high speed.
Prep a loaf pan with butter or non-stick spray and dust it with cornmeal. Pour the soft dough into the pan and cover with a piece of plastic wrap or tinfoil that has been sprayed with nonstick spray.
Set aside to rise for about 45 min to an hour. The dough needs to rise just to the top of the pan, and be peeking over by no more than 1/4 inch.
Preheat oven to 400 degrees and bake for 20-25 minutes. Mine was done exactly at 20 minutes, but my oven runs hot. You'll want to keep an eye on the top to make sure it doesn't over brown, and the interior temperature will be at about 160 degrees if you measure.
Cool for about 5 minutes in the pan and then turn the bread out and let it finish on a cooling rack.