Maybe it’s the fluffy nook-and-cranny texture that’s so adept at catching pools of melted butter and jam, or maybe it’s the contrast with the dusting of crunchy cornmeal, or maybe it’s just that they’re so perfect for toasting. In any case, it’s easy to find a reason to love English Muffins and this simple bread version takes many of those excellent qualities and brings them to you in sliceable, oh-so-toastable, loaf form.
This isn’t a “quick bread.” It does involve some yeast and rising time, but there’s no kneading and it’s a forgiving bread that most anyone can handle. You don’t need a dough hook, all you need is your basic hand mixer or stand mixer attachments. You whisk together your dry ingredients and then warm the liquid ingredients – milk and water and oil – a bit before beating them together until they’re smooth.
That soft dough goes into a loaf pan that’s been liberally dusted with cornmeal, so you still get that delicate crunch that you usually find on the bottom of an English Muffin.
You set the dough somewhere reasonably warm to rise, just until it comes about a quarter of an inch above the pan, which should take no more than an hour.
All that’s left to do is bake. There’s no folding or kneading or shaping to worry about, just one simple rise and a brief baking time of about twenty-five minutes.
The hardest part is waiting for the bread to cool completely before you slice it, which you’ll want to do to make sure you don’t end up with a gummy texture. After that, it’s an ideal bread for toasting and topping with a bit of butter and your favorite jam or jelly. It has a texture that’s reminiscent of a true English Muffin – craggy but fluffy – and makes for an excellent slice of toast in the morning (and a mighty fine afternoon snack, too).
English Muffin Bread
Yield 1 loaf; 8 minutes prep, 25 minutes cook time, 45 minutes inactive
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 1 cup milk
- 1/4 cup water
- 2 tablespoons vegetable oil
- Cornmeal, as needed
- When ready to bake, preheat oven to 400°F and grease an 8 1/2x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan with butter or nonstick spray. Dust sides and bottom with cornmeal.
- In a large bowl, whisk together flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and yeast.
- In a separate microwave-safe bowl, stir together the milk, water, and oil and heat until between 120°F to 130°F.
- Pour heated liquid into dry ingredients. Using an electric mixer, beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be smooth and soft.
- Transfer soft dough into prepared loaf pan, spreading it out as needed.
- Cover pan with a damp clean towel or plastic wrap and let rise until it's barely come up over the rim, no more than 1/4-inch above the top. Rising will take 45 minutes to 1 hour.
- Remove towel or plastic wrap and bake until lightly golden, 22-27 minutes.
- Let cool in pan 5 minutes before removing to a wire rack to cool. Let cool completely before slicing.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour.