If you're an English muffin lover like me, you're going to love this recipe I found in the cookbook called "Beard On Bread" written by James Beard. It's just what you want in an English muffin except that you make it in loaf pan and can cut off as big or little slice as you like. The nooks and crannies in these loaves are what dreams are made of and it toasts up perfectly for your morning breakfast or a tasty sandwich at lunch.
Please be aware, I doubled the recipe (shown here) because we're having company over the holidays and I wanted a few loaves for mid week breakfasts' and another for our traditional Christmas morning brunch. It's as easy an foolproof recipe to double as it is to make just a single loaf. You simply must try this winning recipe. I promise, you will not be disappointed.
English Muffin Bread
1 package active dry yeast
1 tablespoon granulated sugar
1/2 cup warm water (110-115 degrees)
2 1/2 cups all purpose flour
2 teaspoons salt
7/8 cup warm milk
1/4 teaspoon baking soda dissolved in 1 tablespoon warm water
corn meal for dusting the pan and top of loaf (not in the authentic recipe)
Combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water in a large bowl, stir until the yeast and sugar are dissolved, and let the mixture sit until it proofs (approximately 10 minutes).
Add the flour, mixed with salt, and the warm milk in alternate portions while stirring vigorously with a wooden spoon.
Holding the bowl tightly, beat the dough very hard until it shows some elasticity and looks almost ready to leave the sides of the bowl. (Unlike a kneaded dough, however, it will remain loose and sticky.
When it has an almost gummy quality, cover and let rise in a warm place for about 1 1/4 to 1 1/2 hours, until doubled in bulk.
Stir down down with a wooden spoon and add the dissolved soda, and beat vigorously again for about 1 minute, being careful to distribute the soda thoroughly, or else the bread will be streaked.
Butter your 8x4x2 inch loaf pans (depending on how many loaves your making) and sprinkle the corn meal on the bottom and sides of the pan.
Using a rubber spatula, fill the loaf pan/s with your dough and level the dough as best you can. Sprinkle the top of your loaf with additional corn meal.
Let rise again in a warm place for about 1 to 1 1/4 hours. Bake the bread in a preheated 375 degree oven for approximately 30-35 minutes or until it is golden on the top and shrinks slightly from the sides of the pan.
Cool in the pans for about 5 minutes and then turn out onto a rack to cool completely. Grab your plate, knife, butter and jam of your choosing and enjoy the wonderful taste and texture of the best English muffin bread you've ever had.
Unfortunately I can't show you a beauty shot of the inside of one of these loaves because as I mentioned, they're spoken for, for another time. You'll just have to make these and find out yourself just how wonderful they are. What I can tell you is that they freeze beautifully well so you may decide to double the recipe as a back up too. Trust me, you'll want more then one on hand :) Enjoy and pass the butter please!