English muffin loaf bread (it's so easy!)

This post does not involve chocolate or almonds for a change and I am still thoroughly excited about it!  Do you watch a lot of cooking shows?  I DVR a bunch and watch them at nights and on weekends, and a couple of weeks ago, I watched a terrific episode of Cook's Country on PBS that started all this excitement.
Let me start by saying I have a "thing" for English muffins.  I'm big on routine and my breakfast routine of choice is a toasted English muffin with fried egg & ham or slathered with peanut butter. English muffins are always on my grocery list and I'm hooked on them so you can imagine my excitement when they started talking about a recipe for English muffin bread - loaf style - on this show!  And the biggest draw of all was how easy this recipe is to make!  I am dead serious - this bread is as E-A-S-Y to make as putting together a batch of brownies.
First of all, you don't even need the mixer, this is a no-knead bread.  No kneading, no shaping, no pinching, nothing!  It's a yeasted batter dough (who knew there was such a thing as that!) so we're literally talking about just dumping in the ingredients and stirring it all together.  There's hardly any more work than that.  Total rising time is just one hour.  I thought: "now, that's a recipe for me!"  So hearing it all and watching this bread come together on this show, I knew I had to try it.  I grabbed a notebook, wrote down the recipe, and headed into the kitchen (admittedly, a few days later...)!
Plenty of pockets and holes like typical English muffins
And it worked!  This bread is unbelievably easy to make and the result is a loaf of bread that's very reminiscent of English muffins, with that signature holey, airy, honeycomb type of texture and bit of chewiness.  I will be making this bread often!  I am so serious about this, I went straight out and bought a second sturdy loaf pan so I can make two loaves at a time from now on.
A good piece of toast is a beautiful thing
A little whole wheat twist...
There was only one thing I wished to change about this recipe and that's to incorporate some whole wheat flour into it.  I actually prefer whole wheat English muffins and that's the kind I buy and eat regularly.  The original recipe uses all bread flour (for the chew) but I decided to experiment and made a second loaf substituting half the bread flour with white whole wheat flour (my whole wheat flour of choice since it's milder but still provides all the whole wheat benefits)!  
The version I made with half white whole wheat flour and bread flour - I loved it!
I absolutely loved the whole wheat version!  Maybe I just feel better knowing I'm eating something a bit more wholesome but If I closed my eyes, I would think I was eating my usual whole wheat English muffin, which is a very good thing.  It is almost exactly alike!  As you can see, this version with the whole wheat flour is a bit darker and it baked up much the same way in terms of height and texture. I thought it was slightly more flavorful.  

As far as the rest of my family, our 8-year old likes the regular version of this bread better; no surprise there since he's not a fan of whole wheat English muffins in general.  My husband, likewise, prefers the one with all bread flour as well.  I suppose I'm in the whole wheat minority in my house because my vote definitely goes for the whole wheat!
Lots of crunch in every bite thanks to the honeycomb texture of the bread
This whole exercise had me thinking about why I adore English muffins so much.  And it dawned on me that it's all about the texture.  I like my toast really toasted - as in this side of burnt - because I love the crunch.  English muffins, with their "nooks and crannies" give me that when toasted.  And as you can hopefully tell from the picture above, this bread also provides just that - it is airy, crunchy, with a bit of chew.  

That's a whole lot of talk about English muffins!!  Even if you're not crazy for them like I am, I hope you'll give this bread a try for the simplicity alone.  This is probably the bread I should have started off making but I really enjoyed the whole wheat bread too and that experience helped slay the fears I had about working with yeast.  I can hardly believe I'm making actual edible bread in my own kitchen and I'm thrilled to discover this particular recipe!
An early Saturday morning breakfast

I learned so much watching this show and making this bread!  This is how it comes together when making one loaf (half the recipe)...

It really is as simple as placing all the dry ingredients (flour, instant yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda) into a bowl.  Whisk it together really well, making sure the baking soda is evenly dispersed throughout.  The baking soda is a second leavening agent and helps brown the bread.
Warm milk heated to 120 degrees is key.  The warmer temperature allows for a shorter rise/resting time for this dough.  Pour in and stir together.
That's it, my friends!  The dough can now be covered with plastic wrap that's been coated with some cooking spray.
In just half an hour of resting, it has risen and the dough can be turned out into a loaf pan.  Dust the pan with cornmeal to mimic that outer crust of the English muffin.  You could also use semolina if you happen to have that on hand instead.
Stir the dough around a couple of turns with a rubber spatula, then scrape it into the prepared pan, edging the batter into the corners.  This is a yeasted batter dough, or "batter bread" and is quite wet.  The higher amount of liquid in the recipe creates more holes, a signature of my favorite English muffins.
Another half an hour of rest until the batter rises nearly to the top of the pan. (The batter looks essentially the same when I made the bread with half white whole wheat flour.)  Bake the loaf in a 375 degree oven for 30 minutes.  The bread should have a browned crust and the internal temperature of the finished loaf should be 200 degrees.
Turn the bread out and let cool on a wire rack for a couple of hours before slicing and eating.  

I enjoyed this bread with all kinds of toppings and even used it to make grilled cheese sandwiches in the oven.  Turns out, it might not be the ideal vehicle for cheese sandwiches because it's so airy that bits break apart when I sliced the hot sandwiches...but happily, my fellas loved it and it didn't bother them one bit!


Recipe:

English Muffin Loaf Bread
From the Cook's Country show on PBS, aired on October 19, 2013 (recipe is published in The Best of America's Test Kitchen, 2013 but I noticed it called for 2 1/2 cups of milk instead of 3; use 3 cups because it works!)

- For two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 loaves (you can divide the recipe in half to make one loaf) - 

5 cups unbleached bread flour* 
4 1/2 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
3 cups whole milk, heated to 120 degrees
Cornmeal, for pans

* For a whole wheat version, I substitute half the bread flour with white whole wheat flour.  

Place flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda into a large mixing bowl. Whisk well to combine. Make a slight well in the center and add the warm milk into it.  Stir with a wooden spoon until combined and dough starts pulling away from the sides of the bowl.

Cover the bowl with plastic wrap that's been lightly sprayed with vegetable oil.  Let sit in a warm place to rise for 30 minutes.  

Spray two 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pans with cooking spray and dust with cornmeal. Give dough a stir with a rubber spatula to knock it down a bit.  Divide the dough as evenly as possible between the two loaf pans.  The batter will be sticky and should fill the pans about 2/3 of the way.  Use a rubber spatula to gently coax the batter into the corners.  Cover the pans with greased plastic wrap.  Let sit to rise for 30 minutes. The dough should rise near to the top of the pan.

Bake in a 375 degree oven, in the middle rack for 30 minutes, rotating halfway through.  The internal temperature of the finished loaf should be 200 degrees when done.  







67 comments:

  1. I love watching Cooks Country! And I love the look and sound of this bread-I will definitely be making this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes - please try it! You won't believe how easy it is. I love when the folks at ATK/Cook's Illustrated do these easy recipes that are also foolproof. : )

      Delete
  2. This is a brilliant idea and I can only imagine how soft this bread is. I have got to try this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's what I thought when I was watching the show - this is brilliant! genius! : )

      Delete
  3. It does sound really easy! I love English muffins and it's so cool that it's in loaf form. The picture of a slice of toast with butter on it...yum. I want this!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Crazy easy, Nami...no lie. I hope you try it...it is so little work that it wouldn't be a waste even if you don't love it as much as I do.

      Delete
  4. What a great recipe, I love toasted English muffins and this loaf version looks so incredible! Wish I had a slice of this right now:) The one hour total rising time sounds wonderful and I love how easy it comes together. Can't wait to try this, thanks for sharing Monica :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I usually don't shout "try this!" all the time but for the simplicity and result, I really think it's worth a try for anything remotely interested. I did it no problem - need I say more? : ) Thanks for stopping by, Kelly!

      Delete
  5. Wow, that piece toasted with butter looks so good! I've been scared to make english muffins, but I think I could handle this :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Salted butter is such a beautiful thing with bread, isn't it, Amy? I don't think I would tackle actual english muffins to tell you the truth but this is crazy-insane-ridiculously simple!

      Delete
  6. This would be amazing for an egg sandwich. Can't wait to try it.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had it with eggs and ham and it was awesome! Thanks for stopping by!

      Delete
  7. wow, this is so easy to prepare. I love English muffins and this is genius to make them in loaves. :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. So easy, perfect for a novice like me, but I was really amazed at how the texture was so clearly english muffin. I thought it was pure genius to make them in loaves too (I'd never heard of the idea) and I guess it's lucky that the very nature of english muffins (i.e., those holes) make it great for a batter bread.

      Delete
  8. i. LOVE. english muffin loaf bread. SO MUCH. In fact, there was one easter (maybe 2012?) where i made medium-sized versions of it, tied it with a ribbon, and gave them out as gifts to my guests. I still haven't figured out how to make english muffins at home, but the bread? so easy, and i love that.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You have been "in" on the secret of english muffin loaf bread?! I'm jealous. It is a genius thing. Oh, how I would loved to have been one of those guests. I remember a friend of mine once brought me a loaf of sourdough bread her husband made and I was so touched. It was delicious, too, but the idea of someone making a loaf of bread for you is so nice.

      Delete
  9. I tried this version a few months ago as well and darn, it came out perfect!! Isn't this the perfect bread for breakfast?? Oh, and I love your whole wheat version :)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Consuelo - oh my goodness! I'm glad to have your testimonial! Isn't it crazy easy? And it really worked just like I saw on the show. I did find the recipe in their cookbook but oddly, it had less milk in it! I went with what I saw on the show and it works so I'm sticking with it. I do love the whole wheat version, even if I need to convince my menfolk a teeny bit.

      Delete
  10. I am a big fan of english muffins too, and the whole wheat version sounds great. Since I started eating healthier, I've gotten used to the whole wheat flavor and often prefer it to white flour. Your loaf looks beautiful--I have yet to overcome my fear of yeast too, but glad you were able to with this recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Same with me, Tiffany! I started eating a lot healthier about 3 years ago and I really often prefer whole wheat to white. If someone had predicted that about me years ago, I would not have believed it. This recipe is truly so simple - and works. You can almost just forget that you put yeast in it. This is a great starter recipe with better-than-starter results, I think.

      Delete
  11. How cool! And you just reminded me that I like english muffins too. That close up picture of the toasted slice has me drooling. Awesome that this is no knead!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Neat! English muffins are awesome...and no-kneading for bread is even better. No counter-top to clean, no flour to wipe off, etc. That's the kind of bread making for me!

      Delete
  12. Seriously, this is the most tempting loaf I have come across. No knead, yet so airy...can'wait to make this! Mouthwatering pictures Monica!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks so much! I hope you try it and then toast up a thick piece to enjoy. It's hardly any work and the texture is spot-on english muffin!

      Delete
  13. This looks SO incredibly delicious.

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is so cool! I've never seen it in loaf form but I love it... I HAVE to try this. And I'm imagining eating it with bacon and eggs is just heaven too.
    I too love watching cookery shows, I plan to dedicate a day to watching Christmas cookery specials with my Christmas cookbooks on my lap and plan some recipes to try for next month B-)

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Yes, I hope you try it! Bacon and eggs is always a winner but with a good slice of toast, even better! : ) This is so easy.

      I love, love, love the scene you've painted for me...watching cooking shows, with Christmas books sounds like a wonderful way to spend the afternoon. Love that!

      Delete
  15. Oh yes - this loaf is for me! I never have liked super soft squishy bread (well maybe soft rolls) - I like it to have some personality. I also adore English muffins so thanks for this recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. You'll whip it up so quick, it's unbelievable. Glad you like it, Tricia.

      Delete
  16. Wow Monica! I am very impressed. This loaf looks fabulous. I have English muffins on my 'to do' list. I love the fact that you tried a whole wheat version too. I can imagine how great they both taste, toasted with butter! Thanks for the inspiration!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I had never heard of an english muffin loaf bread before so it was new to me and I thought it was genius - since it is so simple to make by just mixing. I really love the one with some whole wheat thrown in. Great flavor and a bit more wholesome.

      Delete
  17. I have an english muffin loaf recipe that I've been making but this one is even easier! I can't wait to try it! I love english muffins too but don't always have the time to make them - this bread is the perfect solution : ) Have a great weekend!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. That's great! I have to check out your recipe...it would be hard to beat this in simplicity...those folks at ATK are amazing. You have a great, relaxing weekend too. Thanks, Ashley.

      Delete
  18. Wow this DOES sound easy!! Love the idea of making english muffin bread at home!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks, Ashley! It doesn't get much easier than this for making yeasted bread, I think!

      Delete
  19. Love all the nooks and crannies! More places for the butter to hide :) This bread looks awesome, no knead and so easy, love it! I use white whole wheat too, prefer the milder taste and I can usually sneak it in and no one knows :)

    Nazneen

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I probably shouldn't have even mentioned to my son that the second loaf had the whole wheat - he was perfectly happy eating it until I asked him what he thought and then it became "the other was better". : ) I love the nooks and crannies for sure!

      Delete
  20. The muffin loaf looks fantastic! A perfect breakfast you have served here.

    ReplyDelete
  21. I haven't had breakfast yet, I am inviting myself to your house.

    ReplyDelete
  22. ridiculously enough, i've never actually had an english muffin! but this loaf looks so beautiful with the butter melted in like that, i can imagine it'd be a pretty perfect thing to wake up to in the morning. great post, lady!
    the hobbit kitchen x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I'm always amazed by all the things I've yet to eat (not to mention cook) so I can understand. I do love an english muffin though so I'm glad it's a part of my life. : ) Thanks, Holly.

      Delete
  23. This is a soft looking lovely bread. Never tried english muffins at home, I am impressed at the loaf. While kneading for bread is therapeutic, this looks so simple and gorgeous. Can't wait to try it out.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I enjoy stirring a big pot of risotto and cooking in the kitchen all day but somehow, bread-making is a whole other animal and rather intimidating to me. I love the picture of you kneading bread and de-stressing that way. : )

      Delete
  24. I eat an english muffin breakfast DAILY so probably this bread needs to happen in my life. Love the whole wheat twist!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. There is some serious english muffin love out there among some of us! I have one almost daily - maybe not the weekend - I just love it! : )

      Delete
  25. This looks way better (read: "easier") than the english muffin bread recipe i had bookmarked to make! I'm totally making this one this weekend to have with breakfast! Thanks for the recipe!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. haha...I don't know if this one is better, taste-wise, than what you bookmarked but I'm pretty sure it can't get much easier than this. Give it a try first. I think you'll like it. If not, blame it on Cook's Country. ; )

      Delete
  26. Loaf perfection!! I love english muffins, so this is a definitely must-try! Pinned :)

    ps: love the photos!

    ReplyDelete
  27. Bread looks so soft and moist.. Brilliant idea .. looks perfectly baked. I am gonna give this a try !!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. I hope you do. I highly recommend it. Minimal effort, terrific result!

      Delete
  28. Love at first bite grilled cheese... English toasting bread, mayo (Duke's of course!) for grilling instead of butter; not too much or it will be greasy. SHARP cheddar deli sliced cheese; one whole slice and then one slice broken into quarters lengthwise and placed around the edges. Best I've ever had!!!

    ReplyDelete
  29. Thanks for the tip on using whole whole wheat flour. I prefer whole wheat as I am trying to eat more healthy! I also saw that episode of Cook's Country and got really excited because it was so simple. I live in Canada and we can't access the recipes without paying for them. I don't have a credit card sooo. this is really annoying. I have once in a while found some of the recipes by searching Google. Thanks again!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Glad to hear that, thank you. I have made this a few times, always with the whole wheat addition. I prefer it. : )

      Delete
  30. Thank you for posting the recipe. Just to clarify, the recipe calls for 3 cups of milk, not 2 ½. The episode was just on Create and I had saved on my DVR. I went back a double checked. Cooks Ill / Cooks Country like to hide their recipes online so you will get online subscription which is actually a great deal if you cook a lot.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi - yes, I always use 3 cups of milk and I went back to check as well when I found the recipe in the book I cited above and it said 2 1/2 cups. I will stick with what works. It's a great recipe, isn't it? : )

      Delete
  31. I tried it after my post. Mine did not turn out as tall as yours in the pictures or on the episode? Dough was stiffer than than on the episode and had to be spooned in blobs and pushed around to cover the pan properly. I think I measured properly? Bread flour may have been too old? Still tasted good... I need another attempt.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thanks for the feedback. It's great you tried it and I'm glad it was still tasty despite not being exactly as you hoped. I have made this several times and it pretty much looks like it does in these pics each time - the dough is wet and sticky and I do nudge it to get it around the pan but they do turn out the size you see. Are you using a larger 9x5 pan? Mine is a bit smaller and I like that it makes for a taller loaf. I hope you try again and much success to you!

      Delete
  32. Hi Monica.

    I have made this a few times and it is delicious however, the dough never really rises and it ends up being a thin loaf. All my ingredients are fresh, nothing has expired . I'm using the correct size pan ( I cut the recipe in half and make 1 loaf) . The yeast package says liquids over 110 degrees will kill the yeast but the recipe says heat the milk to 120 degrees? I don't know what to do. I'll keep making it but I would like the dough to rise.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Jenny...I've made this bread several times too. It's not a tall, tall loaf but I get what you see here. For what it's worth, I use Red Star brand instant yeast, and I do heat the milk to about 120 degrees. If you're using the 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 inch loaf pan (not 9x5 inch), I'd think you'd get what I'm getting. I'm sure you're making sure it's in a warm enough place to rise... I wish I could solve this for you but I'm no expert on yeast doughs and other than the specific brand of yeast I use, I can't think of what else could be different. I'm glad it still tastes great. I hope you keep trying and figure out the mystery!

      Delete
  33. I have these loaves in the oven right now. I split the dough between 4 mini loaf pans that I greased and dusted with cornmeal. They are rising very high. I hope they won't spill out of the pans. I must say the dough is beautiful at this point! I can't wait for them to finish baking.

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you so much for sending me the pics of the finished product! Your mini loaves turned out beautifully and it's such a great idea...you can enjoy some and freeze some or share. : )

      Delete
  34. I think 50% whole wheat is to much. You may find your family will like it better if you replace 10% of the bread flour with whole wheat. Keep in mind that whole wheat needs more liquid than AP & Bread flour. Just a thinking.

    ReplyDelete
  35. I think 50% whole wheat is to much. You may find your family will like it better if you replace 10% of the bread flour with whole wheat. Keep in mind that whole wheat needs more liquid than AP & Bread flour. Just a thinking.

    ReplyDelete

LinkWithin

Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...