Monday, November 17, 2008

Baking Day :: English Muffin Bread

Today was one of those "blah" days. Most of the time I felt like everything was in slow motion and I couldn't get anything done! The baby broke a bowl. The kids fussed at each other. Math was impossible, and reading lessons a marathon. My grand plans for baking day somewhat fizzled out. However, I did make English Muffin Bread and Sweet Potato Muffins (Tom requested those!).

English Muffin Bread is called a "batter" bread or "casserole" bread. You don't knead it in the traditional sense, although you might beat the batter hard for a few minutes initially. The finished texture reminds me of a sponge bread, foamy looking. I baked my English Muffin Bread in the same Pyrex bowl I let it rise in. I was in the mood for a round loaf, but of course you can bake it in a loaf pan. It is the closest thing to English Muffins without actually making English Muffins. When sliced, the bread looks the same and, of course, is fabulous when toasted! That's the whole point. You can't make this bread and then not try it toasted and dripping with butter. It just shouldn't be done. If I remember correctly, my Daddy loved this bread and requested it often. It is very, very easy. I made it in my Kitchen-Aid. I use that mixer so much!

English Muffin Bread

2 1/2 to 3 cups flour (I used about 1 cup whole wheat and 2 cups white)
1 T yeast
1 T sugar
1 1/4 cups water
3/4 tsp salt

In a large mixing bowl combine 1 cup of the flour and the yeast. In a saucepan heat the water, sugar, and salt till warm, stirring constantly to dissolve sugar. Add to dry mixture in bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer for 1/2 minute, scraping bowl. Beat 3 minutes at high speed. Stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Shape into ball.

Place in a lightly greased bowl, turn once to grease surface. Cover; let rise until double (about 1 hour). Punch down. Cover; let rest 10 minutes. Grease a 1-quart casserole; sprinkle with cornmeal. Place dough in casserole; sprinkle top with cornmeal. Cover; let rise till double (30-40 minutes). Bake at 400 degrees for 40-45 minutes (mine only took about 35 minutes). Cover loosely with foil if top browns too quickly. Remove from dish; cool. Makes 1.

Recipe from the 1973 edition of "Better Homes & Gardens Homemade Bread Cookbook"

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