When I made this recipe on Friday, I was so excited to share it with you. The reason: I have found a bread recipe that is easier than no-knead! I started this bread at 5:30pm on Friday, and it was out of the oven by 7:30pm. Seriously, it is the easiest bread I have ever made and the results were great!
I picked English Muffin bread because I wanted to bake something as a housewarming gift for my friend JC who just moved into a new apartment. She loves english muffins so I figured this would be the perfect recipe. Thankfully I made two loaves because TheBetterHalf and I devoured half a loaf for breakfast on Saturday! The bread is light and full of nooks and crannies. It was great fresh out of the oven (yes, I broke the rule yet again and didn’t let it cool completely. I just can’t help myself!), but it was even better toasted and spread with butter.
3 cups (361 grams) unbleached all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon (14 grams) sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup (227 grams) milk
1/4 cup (57 grams) water
2 tablespoons (25 grams) vegetable oil or olive oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan
1) Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.
2) Combine the milk (I used 1%), water, and oil (I used vegetable) in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Be sure to stir the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.
3) Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl.
4) Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.
5) Lightly grease an 8 1/2″ x 4 1/2″ loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.
6) Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.
7) Cover the pan, and let the dough rise until it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn’t be more than, say, 1/4″ over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn’t very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.
8) Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, until it is golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.
9) Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.