This is one of the best and perhaps easiest recipes in this collection. It’s King Arthur Flour’s genius recipe for english muffin toasting bread. It’s a hybrid bread loaf with the craggy texture of an english muffin, and it’s divine. And did I mention easy? All you do is whip the ingredients together, let it rise for an hour or so, and bake it for a half hour. Their website says it’s “earned a place of honor in our King Arthur test kitchen Hall of Fame,” and the first time I made it I understood why. Aside from brioche buns, I haven’t purchased bread since making this. It’s a staple in our house now. But be warned, it’s dangerous. This stuff is so good, if you’re like me you’ll want to eat it with all three meals and snacks. And it’s versatile enough to do that. It’s delicious with preserves or homemade lemon curd for breakfast, excellent for a sandwich at lunch, and perfect to sop up soup or bolognese at dinner.
It’s even prettier and yummier when toasted.
King Arthur Flour’s English Muffin Toasting Bread
Yield: 1 loaf
- 12¾ ounces King Arthur unbleached all-purpose flour
- ½ ounce sugar
- 1½ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1 tablespoon instant yeast
- 8 ounces milk
- 2 ounces water
- ⅞ ounce vegetable oil or olive oil
- Cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan
Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.
Combine the milk, water, and oil in a separate, microwave-safe bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F. Be sure to stir the liquid well before measuring its temperature; you want an accurate reading. If you don’t have a thermometer, the liquid will feel quite hot (hotter than lukewarm), but not so hot that it would be uncomfortable as bath water.
Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl. Beat at high speed for 1 minute. The dough will be very soft.
Lightly grease an 8½ x 4½-inch loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal. Scoop the soft dough into the pan, leveling it in the pan as much as possible.
Cover the pan, and let the dough rise till it’s just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. When you look at the rim of the pan from eye level, you should see the dough, but it shouldn’t be more than, say, ¼ inch over the rim. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if you heated the liquid to the correct temperature and your kitchen isn’t very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°.
Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 22 to 27 minutes, until it’s golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°. Remove the bread from the oven, and after 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.