It’s a cold, grey January day, so I decided to do two of my favorite things: antiquing and bread baking. For the bread, I had recently come across a recipe for English Muffin Bread in my bread clipping file, and it sounded good to me. Baking English Muffin Bread was a fad for awhile. Basically it’s a moist batter bread which makes exceptionally good toast, though the people at Fleischmann’s Yeast had a stroke of genius and called it English Muffin Bread. At any rate, it’s easy to make (no kneading), has a creamy, moist crumb, and a crackly crust. Once the loaves cool, they can be wrapped in foil and kept in the refrigerator. Slice off a piece and toast for breakfast. And, of course, slather with butter!
English Muffin Bread
6 cups flour
2 packages yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 cups milk
3/4 cup water *see Note below before measuring
Combine 3 cups of flour, yeast, sugar, salt, and baking soda. Heat milk and water until very warm. (This can be done in the microwave. It will take about 2-1/2 minutes, stopping twice to stir.) Add to the dry ingredients and beat well. Then thoroughly stir in the remaining 3 cups flour. Spoon into two 8-1/2 x 4-1/2 x 2-1/2 loaf pans that have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal. Sprinkle tops with cornmeal. Cover; let rise in a warm place for about 45 minutes. Bake at 400 degrees for 25 minutes. Remove from pans and cool.
Note: I used Pyrex loaf pans. When using Pyrex, decrease oven temperature to 375 degrees. Also, the original recipe called for only 1/2 cup of water, but I found I needed 3/4 cup to make the batter, which should be a bit loose and shaggy (see picture of unrisen loaves). You might try it with the 1/2 cup water first, and only add the additional 1/4 cup if the batter seems too stiff. If you are unsure what to do, use the 3/4 cup water.
I made toast with this when I came back from the antique store with my prize, a Blue Willow salt shaker for $3.00.