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Monday, August 24, 2009

English Muffin Bread

So I had BLT's on the menu plan for dinner one night recently, but no bread in the house. I figured it was a great chance to try a new recipe; I rarely make regular white bread so I figured I'd seek out some great French or Italian loaf and give yeast yet another shot. Then I started to imagine layering thick bacon, crisp lettuce and ripe tomato on something lovely and toasted and I knew just what to make.
My Mom used to make this when I was little. It's called English muffin bread because it smells and tastes like English muffins when toasted, cornmeal dusting and all. In fact, while it was cooking I had the thought that next time I should try making rounds instead of loaves and see if it really makes English muffins. Anyway, my Mom used to make this - got the recipe from one of her friends in the 70's - and it was the BEST toasted, buttered and slathered with strawberry freezer jam. In fact, this bread is about the best reason I can think of to buy salted butter.
It doesn't hurt the cause of cinnamon sugar or blackberry preserves either. And another great thing about it - there's only one rise so you can make the 2 loaves in under 2 hours, as opposed to the 3+ that many yeast recipes require.

The bread is dense and flavorful; the toast is just what it should be - crisp on the outside, still soft and warm inside. It is perfect dipped in cocoa, topped with eggs and cheese, cut into croutons, whatever.

And it makes the best BLT!
2 cups warm water (100-110 degrees)
1 pkg (2 1/4 tsp) yeast
1 T sugar
2 tsp salt
6 to 7 cups flour
Corn meal for dusting

1. In a large mixer bowl combine the water, yeast and a pinch of sugar. Stir and let sit a few minutes for yeast to proof. Add the rest of the sugar, salt, and 3 cups flour and mix. Gradually add 3 to 4 more cups flour (use dough hook) until dough is formed. Mix or knead until dough is nice and smooth.

2. Place in greased bowl, spray with nonstick cooking spray, cover with plastic wrap and let rise for about 1 hour or until doubled in bulk.

3. Divide the dough in half and shape into two long loaves, which you place on cookie sheets that have been greased and spread lightly with corn meal. Or grease two loaf pans and dust bottom and edges lightly with corn meal. Place dough loaves in pans.

4. Make three long diagonal slits in the top of each loaf and sprinkle with cold water. Put them in a cold oven and turn to 400 degrees. Bake 40 minutes or until done.

This bread is best freshly hot or toasted and doesn't keep long. But if it stales you can always use it for bread pudding, French toast, croutons, bread crumbs, etc.


dave said...

hot, with melting butter, this is seriously the best bread

Leslie said...

I dont think it is possible for me to eat a slice of bread without putting butter on it!!!

Kelsey Carreon said...

I showed this bread to Edric and you can guess what I will be making this weekend!!

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