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English Muffin Bread

April 20, 2020

Recipe adopted from America's Test Kitchen[Recipe makes (2) loaves].

While we have made our own English muffins before, the shaping process can be somewhat difficult due to the wet consistency of the dough.  Some methods call for pouring the dough into a ring mold directly in a skillet, while others are dependent on excessive amounts of flour while you roll and cut out the muffins on a counter.  They are doable, but there has to be an easier way, right?

This recipe produces bread that has that crunchy exterior and chewy interior that we all love in fresh English muffins, but takes out any room for error since the dough is just transferred to bread pans and baked.

INGREDIENTS:

Cornmeal (for dusting)
1 lb 11-1/2 ounces (~5-1/2 cups) bread flour
4-1/2 teaspoons instant dry yeast
1 tablespoon organic sugar
2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 teaspoon baking soda, sifted
3 cups unsweetened dairy-free milk, heated to 120°F

DIRECTIONS:

Grease two bread loaf pans and dust with cornmeal.  Remove any excess cornmeal and set pans aside.

Combine the flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda in a large mixing bowl.  Whisk the dry ingredients so that everything is evenly mixed.  Add the warm milk and stir until combined with a rubber spatula.  Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and let the dough rise for 30 minutes, or until doubled in volume.

Roughly halfway through the first rise, preheat your oven to 375°F and make sure there is an oven rack in the middle position.

Once doubled in size after the first rise, gently stir with a rubber spatula, and then divide the dough in half, transferring each half to the bread pans.  [Side note: For those who love their food scale, this is roughly 765 grams of dough in each pan].  Using a rubber spatula (sprayed with cooking spray if needed), press the dough into all four corners of the pan, and do your best to flatten out the top surface.

Cover the loaves again with plastic wrap, and let the dough rise slightly over the top of the bread pans, roughly 30 minutes.  [Side note: The dough will not rise much more in the oven, so the height of the bread before baking is roughly what you can expect when the bread is fully baked].

Transfer the loaves to the middle rack of the oven and bake for 30 to 35 minutes, or until the bread reaches an internal temperature of 200°F.  Let the loaves cool in their pans for five minutes, and then remove the loaves from their pans and let cool completely on a cooling rack before slicing.

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