I hope everyone had a wonderful weekend! When the weather is cool and rainy, not to mention the gale force winds we had over the weekend, I always get the urge to bake. Baking homemade bread is one of my favorite things to do, I find it very soothing and relaxing. I was craving some English muffin bread and this recipe is as simple as you can get for a yeast bread. I know, some of you are already nervous. But I encourage you---DO NOT BE AFRAID OF WORKING WITH YEAST! It will not harm you! Many home cooks have had such terrible experiences with yeast bread, either the yeast not activating, loaves that turn out like something you would landscape your yard with. That is the great thing with this recipe, it tells you what temperature to bring the liquid to---therefore, no risk of it being too cool (and not activating the yeast) or too hot (which would kill the yeast), either way giving you flat, dense loaves. And, with just the one 45 minute rising time, instead of two that most bread recipes require, you can pull English Muffin Bread together for dinner that same night. I used my Kitchen Aid mixer with the dough hook but if you don't have a big mixer, use a mixer for the first portion, then stir the second batch of the flour in with a spoon.
There is something about the texture of this bread that is so alluring. It is firm, yet moist and delicate. It also makes the absolute BEST toast! Good thing it makes two loaves---one will be gone the same day!
English Muffin Bread
(adapted from Better Homes and Gardens)
5 cups all purpose flour
2 packages of active dry yeast ( or 4 1/2 tsp if you use the jar of yeast)
2 cups milk
1/4 cup butter
2 T sugar
1 t salt
In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of flour and the yeast. In a saucepan heat and stir milk, butter, sugar and salt until warm (120 to 130 degrees) and until butter nearly melts. Add to flour mixture. Beat with an electric mixer on low speed for 30 seconds, scraping the sides of the bowl constantly. Beat on high speed 3 minutes. Mix in the rest of the flour. Do not knead this bread dough. Batter will be VERY stiff. Divide into 2 greased loaf pans. Cover and let rise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Bake in a 375 degree oven for about 35 minutes. Remove from the pan immediately.