Monday, May 7, 2012

English Muffin Bread

I saw this recipe on Pinterest (I find myself saying that a lot lately) and I just had to try it. We are definite English Muffin eaters in this house, so making bread that tastes like English Muffins sounds like a no brainer to me. When I saw that it was only 5 ingredients (along with some melted butter for brushing), and that there was no kneading, I was hooked. I had the bread in the oven within an hour of reading the post. I love the Internet. So many wonderful resources available at your fingertips.
  So, I wanted to change the recipe (like I always do) but since I've never even attempted to make English Muffin Bread before I didn't want to mess it up. So, the recipe is pretty much the same as the one I saw on Pinterest, but I didn't need as much flour as it stated, and I added a little more sugar. I adjusted the recipe to state as much.
This bread is so simple and really delicious. If someone didn't tell me it was "English Muffin Bread" I probably wouldn't have known, but it is really tasty. If you make toast with it, the English Muffin flavor is more pronounced (who eats English Muffins un-toasted?). My husband liked it best with plain butter. The kids and I like it with honey butter.
   The recipe does make 4 loaves. I was thinking I would freeze some, but there was no need. The first loaf was gone in an hour. I made them yesterday and I only have 1/2 a loaf left. The bread is so good, there is no need to make plans for the "extra" loaves. Just eat them. - Or, if you must, give them away. Your friends and family will love you forever and think of you fondly . . . at least while they are eating this delicious bread.
Enough talking, let's get baking. (I did have to wait a couple hours for my dough to rise, so plan ahead.)

Here's all you need:
bread flour, salt, sugar, yeast, water
Pour 3 packages of rapid rise yeast into a large mixing bowl. If you use regular yeast, I guess you have to let it rise twice. At least that is what the original recipe says. I just always use rapid or fast rise yeast.

Add 1/4 cup sugar (the original recipe said 3 Tbsp)

and 1 Tbsp of salt.

You'll need 5 1/2 cup of warm water. I always use filtered water when making bread, because Alton Brown says to, and I do what Alton says. You should too. He says that the yeast grows better in filtered water.
The water needs to be warm. You should be able to put your finger in it and it should feel warm, but not hot.

Ideally, you want the temp to be somewhere between 105F and 110F
my water was 109.6F
Add the water to the bowl and stir to dissolve.

Now you add the flour. I think it would be wise to just add one cup at a time, stirring as you go. . . .
I didn't do that, and I regret that decision. At least I was thinking enough to only add 10 cups of flour (instead of the total 11 cups of flour). Yeast bread making is always a tricky thing. Depending on the day, you may need more or less flour than the recipe states. Do what I say and not what I did - add the flour one cup at a time and mix as you go. The end result should be very sticky!

I stirred . . .still very dry. . .

and stirred. . . .It's still dry.
I didn't think all the flour was going to get absorbed. I even put another 1/2 cup of water in the microwave to add, just in case. I didn't need it in the end, but I was really worried.

I just kept stirring and it finally came together the way it should. There should be no visible flour, and it should be very sticky.


Spray 4 loaf pans with no-sick cooking spray. Can you tell my pans (that are only about 8 years old) from the ones that I stole from my parents (that are probably as old as I am)? I love my parents' pans. I still won't make a batch of my white bread in any other pans. I confiscated a total of three pans (because that is how many I need for my white bread) and I'm not giving them back. - OK I would give them back if they asked . . . but I don't think they will. Love you guys! Thanks for the pans!

It was tricky business getting the dough into the pans. I used my mixing spoon and ended up putting four scoops in each pan.

You want the dough to fill the pans 1/2 way.

Just even out the top by stretching it flat with your fingers and the mixing spoon.

Now go wash your sticky mess!

Cover the loaves with damp towels and let them rise in a warm place until doubled - they will reach the tops of the pans. Depending on the temperature of your house, this may take a while. Mine took a couple hours.

This is what they look like when they are done rising. They go into a 350F oven for 35-45 minutes.

About 10 minutes before done, brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter. (My gracious husband did this as I had a baby in one hand and the camera in the other.) You can't tell in the picture, but the loaves should be slightly golden already. They go back in the oven for another 10 minutes.

This is what they look like when they are all done. Beautimus! (I know that's not a real word, but it's a word that my friends and I used a lot in high school and it stuck. I like it. You can use it too, if you want to be like the cool kids.)

They should be browned on all sides. You can turn them out onto a cooling rack, or do what I do, and turn them out - on their sides- onto a towel.  This is the way my grandma and my dad do it, so that is what I do too.

Cover the loaves loosely with a towel and let cool. - This is the hard part. The original recipe says that if you cut into the bread when it is still warm it will be a big mess. I didn't test that theory. I left the loaves alone and made my hubby his Pears Belle Helen Cake - the oven was already hot. :)

When the bread was cool, we (my husband actually, because he couldn't wait any longer) cut into it. I love the texture on top and all the "nooks and crannies" inside. The texture isn't the same as English Muffins, but when you toast it, it tastes the same.

This is my slice, toasted with honey butter. (I like equal parts honey and butter.) Mmmm. Excuse me while I go eat some more now.

English Muffin Bread

5 1/2 cups filtered water, warm (105F-110F)
3 packages of rapid rise yeast
2 Tbsp of salt
1/4 cup of sugar
10-11 cups of bread flour
2 Tbsp melted butter

Put the yeast, sugar, salt and water into a large mixing bowl. Stir to dissolve. Add the flour, one cup at a time, until the dough comes together. There should be no visible flour, and it should be very sticky. Divide dough evenly among 4 greased loaf pans. The dough should fill the pans 1/2 way. Cover with a damp towel and let rise until the pans are filled (doubled in size). Bake in a preheated 350F oven for about 30 minutes (until the loafs are slightly golden). Brush each loaf with the melted butter and bake for an additional 10 minutes, until nice and golden. Turn out the loaves onto cooling racks or a towel. Cover loosely with a dry towel until the loaves are cool. When cool slice and serve with butter, jam, honey butter, what have you. It's recommended to toast first, but not necessary.

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