Yeasted English Muffin Bread
I like English muffins. My love affair with them began when I was a road warrior for IBM. Spending several days on the road each week, in different cities, eating in different places, shaped my thinking to the point where I was primarily looking for a "no surprise" meal, especially at breakfast. I discovered that a toasted English muffin, with some butter and jam spread on it, was almost impossible for the various "cooks" around the United States to mess up!
The English Muffins you buy, prepackaged in the store are tasty, but if you read the ingredients on the label, it tends to make you just a bit cautious about putting more than 1 or 2 of them into your digestive system each year. This recipe contains nothing but the ingredients needed to make the dough do its "thing." None of these home made, "artisan" breads I share with you have any preservatives. That’s the good news. The bad news is that, as a result, their shelf life is shorter than "store-bought" baked goods. I handle that little issue by keeping the left-overs refrigerated, and doing everything in my power to avoid having left-overs!
Yeasted English Muffin Bread
Mike Avery, Sourdough Home, 2001
1 Package active dry yeast ( about 2 ½ teaspoons)
1 Tablespoon sugar
½ Cup warm water, 90-100 degrees
2 ½ Cups unbleached all-purpose flour
2 Teaspoons salt
7/8ths cup warm milk, 90-100 degrees
¼ Teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 Tablespoon warm water
Put the flour, salt, sugar and yeast into a large mixing bowl. Add water and milk. Stir well. Try to stir until the dough ball becomes rather smooth, as this helps develop the gluten. Stop stirring after about 5 minutes, even if the dough ball isn’t perfectly smooth.
Cover with plastic wrap, set it in a warm, draft-free spot, and allow the dough to rise until doubled in size, about an hour.
Now add the dissolved baking soda to the mix and stir it again until the dough ball is reduced in size and smooth.
Roll the dough ball into a greased bread pan and smooth/spread it out into the entire pan. Cover it again, return it to that warm, draft-free spot, and let it rise for about another hour.
Forty minutes into the second rise, preheat the oven to 375 degrees. Once the rise is complete, spray the top of the loaf with water and place it into the oven for 25 minutes. At the 25 minute mark, check the bread. It should have begun to pull away from the sides of the pan and display a nice, golden brown color on top. If it has done this, it’s been in the oven long enough. Remove it from the oven, place it on a cooling rack for 5 minutes, and then gently remove the loaf from the pan. I say "gently," because this is somewhat fragile bread; if you bounce it out of the baking pan like you do your beer bread, chances are you’ll wind up with Yeasted English Muffin Bread Bits & Pieces!
Either oven-toasted or browned in your conventional toaster, this is a bread you’ll come to love! Lots of butter, a bunch of piled-on preserves, maybe some peanut butter; I mean, what’s not to love??