June 2, 2013
English Muffin Bread
One of my favorite pre-race fuels is an English muffin smeared with peanut butter and topped with some banana slices. It's a good combination of carbs (the body's gasoline during a run), protein (fights off hunger and helps build/repair muscles), and potassium (runners lose potassium through sweating, and potassium helps to regulate muscle contraction and prevent cramping). I have made homemade English muffins, but they are a bit more labor intensive than I was feeling on a Saturday afternoon.
I turned to English Muffin Bread for my week end baking project. English Muffin Bread was on my baking bucket list for a while, and it was time to bake it up! I can't believe I waited so long to make this because it was a such a simple yeast bread to make.
This bread requires no kneading. You mix the ingredients together, and that's it. I used my stand mixer, and that made it even easier. After the mixing is done, you put the dough directly in the pan to rise. It has a quick rise time, which is a bonus.
The crust was crisp, and the interior was soft and chewy with the spongy texture and crannies. It does taste like an English muffin. It makes a great toasting bread for breakfast. I even used it for a grilled cheese sandwich. Yep, even though I'm a year shy of 30, it's still fun to eat like a 7 year old.
English Muffin Toasting Bread
Yields 1 loaf
3 cups (12 3/4 oz.) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tbsp. sugar
1 1/2 tsp. salt
1/4 tsp. baking soda
1 tbsp. instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tbsp. olive oil
Cornmeal or semolina flour, to sprinkle in pan
In either the bowl of a stand mixer, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast.
Combine the milk, water, and oil in a microwave safe bowl, and heat until the temperature reaches somewhere between 120ºF and 130ºF. This took 75 seconds in my microwave, but microwaves will vary. Stir the liquid well before measuring the temperature to ensure accuracy. If you do not have a thermometer, the liquid will feel hot but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.
Next, pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Beat at high speed using the paddle attachment. The dough will be very soft, so don't worry.
Lightly grease an 8 1/2 x 4 1/2" loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal. Then, add the dough into the pan, and levee it in the pan as much as possible.
Cover the pan, and let the dough rise for about 45 minutes to an hour. When the dough is finished rising, it will have just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400ºF. Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 28 minutes, or until the bread is golden brown.
Remove the bread from the oven, and allow it to cool in the pan for about 10 minutes. Then, turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread finish cooling before slicing.
Source: King Arthur Flour