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Monday, February 24, 2014

English Muffin Bread

This is an old recipe that I found in my Grandmother's cookbook and I've wanted to try it for a long time.  And what better time to make some homemade bread than on a dark and rainy weekend.  With such a short list of ingredients this is also a great baking project for kids.  They will love the smell of fresh baked bread!

This bread gives you a nice crunchy exterior, just like an English muffin, with a light, moist interior, which makes it an ideal bread for jam or marmalade.  I tried this with my favorite blackberry jam and it was heavenly.  The only thing it needed was a cup of tea to go with it.

This recipe was really easy to make and the prep time only took about 5 minutes.  After that the bread needs to rest for an hour or so, then 25 minutes in the oven and you have 2 loaves of warm bread ready to serve.  The bread has a solid texture that is also great toasted.

1 cup  1% Milk
1 cup  Half and Half
1/2 cup  Water
5-3/4 cups  Flour, divided
2  .25 oz pkgs  Active Dry Yeast
1 TB  Sugar
1 tsp  Salt
1/4 tsp  Baking Soda

Grease 2 - 9 X 5 inch loaf pans with butter then dust lightly with the cornmeal; set aside.

In a small saucepan, heat the milk, half and half and water over medium heat until very warm but not boiling.

Combine 3 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl.  (A stand mixer with a dough hook works great.)

Add the warm milk and water to the flour mixture and beat well.  Stir in the remaining flour to make a stiff batter. (If the batter is too sticky, add one or two tablespoons of flour, as needed.)  Spoon the batter into the prepared pans, sprinkle the tops of the batter lightly with cornmeal, cover with plastic wrap, place a light towel over the top and let rise in a warm place for 1 hour.

Preheat oven to 400 degrees.  Bake the bread for 25 minutes, then remove loaves from the pans and cool on a wire rack.  Store in an airtight container.  Bread freezes well for up to 60 days.  Enjoy!!

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