RANDOM RECIPE CHALLENGE 14: English Muffin Bread
This 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.
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.
(Below) Risen and ready for the oven
Cover pans and prove for 1-2 hours until doubled in size. Preheat the oven to 350F/160C Fan/180C/Gas Mark 4.
Bake for approximately 1 hour or until internal temperature reaches 90-100C/190F.
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.