Confession #61: I think it’s time to conquer yeast… English Muffin Toasting Bread
It seems like every time I post a yeasted bread recipe on the good ol’ blog, I get at least one comment from a reader telling me that they’re afraid of yeast. For some reason, yeast seems to ward people off sometimes, like it’s much too complicated of an ingredient to handle in a recipe. Guess what though? It’s totally not.
I don’t really remember if I was ever apprehensive about yeast, but I understand why it seems so scary sometimes. Yeast, unlike other rising agents like baking soda and baking powder, is finicky about temperature, requires time to work, and must be added to a recipe in a specific manner. In other words, it takes a little more know-how, a little more patience, and a little more confidence to master. But… it’s really not as difficult as it sounds, and I’m going to prove it!
If you’re deathly afraid of yeast or even just a bit uncomfortable using it, I’m challenging you to rise and conquer, NOW! My plan is to post a series of yeasted bread recipes, starting really easy and getting more complex, so you can work your way up to being a yeast pro. I’m starting out with this recipe for English Muffin Toasting Bread. It is literally the easiest recipe using yeast you could possibly find; I dare to say it’s impossible to mess up. So…try making this bread, and once your confidence with yeast starts to rise (no pun intended) move on to the next yeast bread recipe I post.
The reason why this bread is so simple to make is because the “kneading” is accomplished with a 1-minute mix in your KitchenAid mixer and the bread rises like mad, so it only takes about 45 minutes to an hour until you’ll be ready to pop the loaf in the oven. It’s easier than making a quick bread! Also, this bread is really good. It’s basically English Muffins in bread form (could’ve guessed that), which means it’s light, airy, and perfect for toasting. You get your nooks and crannies with barely any work. Perfect!
This English Muffin Toasting Bread is an absolutely no-fail yeast bread recipe, perfect for getting comfortable with yeast. Plus, all of the tastiness, nooks, and crannies of an English Muffin in a loaf? Yes please!
3 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast or active dry yeast (I always use active dry)
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
cornmeal for dusting pan
In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the flat beater attachment, whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, and yeast.
In a separate, microwave-safe bowl, combine the milk, water, and oil. Heat in the microwave at 30 second increments, for a total of 1 minute and 30 seconds, or until the mixture is between 120 F and 130 F. I always go by King Arthur's instructions: It should be hotter than lukewarm but not too hot for bath water.
Pour the warm liquid mixture into the mixer and beat the liquid and dry together at high speed for 1 minute. At this point, you should have a rather sticky and wet-looking dough.
Grease an 8 1/2" by 4 1/2-" loaf pan and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal. Scoop the dough into the pan and level out the top with a lightly greased spatula. Cover the pan with greased saran wrap and let the dough rise until it's about 1/4 inch above the edge of the pan (it can be more, as I never seem to catch it in time). This should take about 45 minutes to an hour. Once your bread is almost ready to bake, preheat your oven to 400 F.
Remove the saran wrap from the bread and bake in the preheated oven for 22 to 27 minutes (22 minutes has always been enough for me).You can test it like you would a quick bread. The top should be golden brown.
Remove the bread from the oven and let it sit for at least 5 minutes before removing it from the pan. Let it cool at for half an hour before slicing.
This bread is delicious served with melted butter, if you feel like splurging, but also great on it's own.