English Muffin Bread

RANDOM RECIPE CHALLENGE 14: English Muffin Bread

randomrecipes2This is my first post for the Belleau Kitchen Random Recipe Challenge, and after counting out 12 cookery books, I started again at the beginning and continued counting another 5. Most of my cookery books are packed away; I only keep my favourite and most useful ones within reach, and goodness knows, I have some real rubbish cookery books in my collection. Number 17, tah-dah, was “San Francisco a la Carte”, and I flipped open the book to page 360, English Muffin Bread, which happily I’d not made before. I was delighted that I hadn’t opened the page to raw oysters because I just can’t do raw oysters without gagging. And at my age, I’m a bit too old to be gagging on food.

My husband and I lived in San Francisco for a year shortly after we were first married. It was a magical and memorable year of widely diverse food and jaw-dropping, awe-inspiring scenery. Just before we left for our next posting (we’ve moved around a lot during his career), a friend gave me a going away gift that I’ve always treasured — a cookery book specific to the area, favourite recipes of San Francisco restaurants and traditional family standbys using local ingredients. “San Francisco a la Carte” was published in 1979, and it’s been revised and updated several times since. All profit goes to the San Francisco Junior League of Volunteers. It’s available at both Amazon US and Amazon UK . All the recipe measurements in the book are US volume (cups, etc.), so I adapted this by converting the recipe to metric (weighing ingredients).

The recipe for this bread is peppered across the internet with all manner of different ingredient quantities, including amounts of yeast. I’ve seen as much as 1 tablespoon dry active yeast in some recipes. This version has far less yeast, and uses an overnight ferment for flavour. My husband claims that it makes the best ever toast. It has an extremely open and moist crumb. So open in fact that a Mini Cooper might slip through the holes.

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English Muffin Bread (makes 2 loaves)

600g plain flour (approx 5 cups)
1-1/2 teaspoon active dry years
1-1/2 teaspoon fine salt
1 tablespoon sugar
1-1/2 teaspoon vegetable oil
450-470ml warm water (50 degrees C) (approx 2 cups)

Mix together all the dry ingredients and the oil in a large bowl, make a mountainous-volcano-well, and then add the water and stir well until thoroughly combined. Use a spoon or your hands, your choice. I don’t mind getting a bit mucky, so I used my hands. Cover the bowl with oiled cling film and a tea towel to cover and retain warmth while it ferments and rises overnight. In the morning, prep two loaf pans by greasing and flouring them, knock out the excess flour, and then spoon the ‘batter’ dough evenly between them. No kneading required.

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(Below) Risen and ready for the oven

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Cover pans and prove for 1-2 hours until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350F/160C Fan/180C/Gas Mark 4.

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Bake for approximately 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 90-100C/190F.

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A lovely bread that’s perfect for toasting. We’re already chomping away on the second loaf, and I’ll be making this again, probably baking it on Fridays as we tend to eat more toast on weekends.

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14 Comments Add yours

  1. Dominic says:

    oooh Misky this looks so good… I love the texture of the bread… and how funny that I made muffins yesterday!!… I will definitely be making this loaf soon, I just love the look of it. Thank you so much for taking part it’s always nice to have new people on board the Random Recipes express!!

    1. Misky says:

      I’ve wanted to join in for a while now but just had to work up the nerve to jump into the challenge. It’s rather like jumping into a new kettle of fish. I hope to do it often; it was fun.

  2. Ray says:

    The crumb looks amazing – I can see how this would make great toast! Just add marmite….. 🙂 I may try this recipe next friday evening

    1. Misky says:

      My mum makes a similar recipe that uses 1T of yeast, plus bicarb soda. I’ve tried that one, and it’s also good. Same crumb and moisture but quicker and a bit bland.

  3. C says:

    I’d never seen an english muffin bread before, but what a great idea. The texture looks very similar to normal english muffins too, just perfect for toasting and lots of holes to catch the butter!

    1. Misky says:

      Lots of holes, C. Lots and lots and lots! 😀

  4. Misk, this bread could be addicting, just looking at that moist slice I can just imagine it toasted. When I was reading through I was hoping you’d show us the slice with the holes:) What a neat story about you and your husband! You’ve must have lived in some pretty interesting places, then?

    1. Misky says:

      Yes, quite a few interesting cities. All the moving wasn’t always easy for the boys though, but they’ve grown into well-balanced and interesting men so no harm done. 🙂

  5. Tandy says:

    I am too afraid to count my recipe books!

    1. Misky says:

      A few weeks ago I could’ve counted to 17 no problem but I decided to pack up the cookery books that I hadn’t opened for a while to make room for proper books to read. I have a lot of my grandmother’s old cookery books, so those are better packed away so they’re not damaged.

  6. Funny I was just reading about oysters yesterday, the article almost convinced me to give them another go again… realistically though, I suspect there would still be a rather long adult gag happening though.

    As for your lovely bread… toasted, butter slipping through the holes with some sticky marmalade to coax the taste buds into another slice or four. I’m sure that’s how weekends are supposed to be.

    1. Misky says:

      I love fried oysters, oyster stew, oyster fritters … but raw (urp), I can’t do, and goodness knows that I’ve certainly tried over the years. I was raised in an area where everyone eats them raw, so little ol’ Misky was a bit of an outcast to her family.

      As for the bread, I should have cut this latest loaf in half and frozen part. It’s already growing green fluff. Darn, heck and &*%$%. 😉

  7. Rock Salt says:

    This is officially on my List (yep, capital L!) to try soon. Thanks 😀

    1. Misky says:

      Hi there! Let me know how you get on with it. 🙂

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