From the kitchen of One Perfect Bite...In the beginning days of One Perfect Bite, I made English muffins as a curiosity. There was no compelling reason to do so, but I wanted to add another notch to my belt and prove, basically to myself, that should the need ever arise, I had English muffins covered. While the process was not hard, it was way too much work for something I could buy in the grocery store just five minutes from my home. When I saw this recipe in Cook's Country magazine I had to give it a try. The bread seemed easy to make and I was curious to see if it bore any resemblance to the real thing. I can report that the recipe makes loaves that are dense and chewy and packed with nooks and crannies that are just waiting for a pat of butter and schmear of jam. Slices of the bread are almost like English muffins, and if you enjoy working with yeast, I urge you to give this recipe a try. The loaves are made like a batter bread and if you avoid overmixing, you just can't go wrong. Here is the recipe.
English Muffin Bread...from the kitchen of One Perfect Bite courtesy of Cook's Country magazine
Butter, for pans and plastic wrap
Cornmeal, for pans
5 cups bread flour
4-1/2 teaspoons instant or rapid-rise yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups whole milk, heated to 120 degrees F
1) Butter two 9 x 5 x 3-inch loaf pans and dust with cornmeal.
2) Combine flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir in hot milk until combined, about 1 minute. Cover dough with a piece of generously buttered plastic wrap and let it rise in a warm place until dough is bubbly and has doubled in volume, about 30 to 45 minutes. Dough will be sticky, airy and moist, more like a batter than a typical bread dough.
3) Using a buttered rubber spatula, gently stir dough. Pour half of it into 1 prepared loaf pan, then scrape remainder of dough into second pan. Gently push dough into corners of the pans. Pans should be about 2/3 full. If desired, dust top of loaves with cornmeal. Cover pans with buttered plastic wrap and let dough rise in a warm place until each loaf reaches top edges of pans, about 30 minutes.
4) Preheat oven to 375 degrees F. Adjust an oven rack to middle position.
5) Discard plastic and transfer pans to oven. Bake until bread is well browned, about 30 minutes, gently rotating and switching pans halfway through baking. The loaves may seem to deflate in center, but don’t worry. This is a soft-batter bread, so bread doesn’t rise in same fashion as a regular bread, and loaves will come out flat on top. Turn loaves onto a wire rack and let cool completely, about 1 hour. Slice, toast, and slather with butter. Yield: 2 loaves.
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