Tuesday, April 3, 2012

No-Knead English Muffin Bread

Typically, I'm game for trying out ANY recipe or cooking technique. I started REALLY getting into cooking through dessert baking, and then moved on to actual meals. However, I have ALWAYS suffered from a bad case of what I call "bread anxiety". 

I'm terrified to making bread from scratch; I'm always scared I will over or under mix the dough, over or under knead it, and end up either baking a yeasty ooze or a dense flour brick. I have a bread machine, solely for mixing the dough (I bake the loaves in the oven), yet I've managed to screw that up.

Having Bread Anxiety (BA) REALLY sucks since I LOVE bread. Especially toast. I could honestly eat toast pretty much at anytime, slathered with melted butter, homemade jams, peanut butter & honey, or even cream cheese. But most store-bought breads are full of crap and preservatives, and the better breads aren't exactly cheap. So, in spite of my crippling BA, I've been trying to learn the ins and outs of bread baking.

This bread is the perfect recipe for my fellow BA sufferers. First off, it's a no-knead bread. Second, it uses Rapid-Rise yeast, so you don't have to worry about any "punching down" or second rises. It's EXACTLY like English muffins; light, airy and full of nooks and crannies, but in a sliceable loaf. Great on it's own, but definitely best when toasted, it's perfect for making your own at-home breakfast sandwiches!



Ironically, I'm so scared of making bread, but I have no qualms whatsoever about making homemade biscuits.

No-Knead English Muffin Bread
adapted from One Good Thing

Ingredients
2 3/4 cups warm water (around 110 degrees)
1 1/2 packages (1/4 oz envelopes) Rapid Rise yeast*
1 Tbsp salt
1 1/2 Tbsp sugar
5 1/2 cups bread flour
Melted butter

*You CAN use regular yeast, but the dough will need to rise twice; once in the mixing bowl and once in the pans. With the Rapid Rise yeast, the dough only needs to rise once.


Make sure you are measuring your flour correctly; you want to spoon the flour into the measuring cup, without packing it down, and level off the cup with a knife. Don't simply scoop into the bag of flour, or this will pack the flour into the measuring cup, and you'll end up with WAY too much flour. Trust me on this one.

Combine the warm water, yeast, salt, sugar and bread flour. Mix JUST until combined; the dough will be extremely sticky and shaggy. A silicone spatula works GREAT for mixing this dough. 



The yeast looks like little worms or maggots. Ewwwww.



Spoon into two greased loaf pans, about 3/4 full, and let the dough rise in the pans until it reaches the top of the pans. This should take about 30-45 minutes or so.






Bake in a 350-degree oven for 35-45 minutes or until golden brown. Brush the tops of the loaves with melted butter about 10 minutes before the loaves are done.


Cool loaves in pans for 5 minutes, then cool COMPLETELY on a wire rack before slicing; the bread will be VERY moist and needs to cool all the way to "dry".



This bread is best toasted, with plenty of butter, jam and/or honey to get down into all those gorgeous nooks and crannies!

3 comments:

  1. I am so glad I found your blog! Food! Humor! I am not the only one who thinks yeast looks like worms!

    I have serious bread anxiety, too. I've recently learned, though, that I can blame it squarely on Ellen Buchman Ewald and the honey-whole wheat bread in Recipes for a Small Planet. Mom has been telling me for years how awesome it is, so I kept making it. It kept turning out dense, a little sour, and crumbly. I hate it when bread breaks and doesn't make good sandwiches! I tried new yeast, new flour, different brands of flour, everything. Finally, I complained to her one day that I just couldn't get it right, and handed her a slice.

    "Oh, yes," she said, "This is just how I remember it!"

    It turns out that I was doing it right and my mother just has lousy taste in bread. Now, I not only have to re-learn to handle yeast breads, I have to undo all my yeast-related emotional baggage, too. Thank a whole freakin' lot, Mom, and your hippie food.

    I am so trying English muffin bread this weekend.

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  2. LBC - Great story about the lousy bread!!! I've had the same experience; where someone has told me I just HAVE to try a certain dish or restaurant, only to eat and go "WTF???".

    I hope you like the bread - it's pretty much foolproof. The hardest part is letting the bread cool COMPLETELY before slicing; then again, I've never been known for my patience :)

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  3. Great recipe!! Could this be made ahead and stored in an air tight container?

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