Thursday, April 30, 2009

English Muffin Toasting Bread

If you read my blog regularly, you're already painfully aware that I've recently become crazy over bread baking. And by crazy, I don't just mean I'm a few slices shy of a full loaf, I mean I'm certifiably obsessed. I can smell a bag of flour a mile away and I immediately gravitate toward the baking section of whatever store I'm in, hoping to score a new type of flour that I don't already possess.

Don't believe me? Check out how ridiculously full of flour my freezer and cupboards are.
King Arthur and I are now on a first name basis. "Hey Art," I say when I ring him up. "Send me a couple hundred pounds of your best organic whole wheat."

Of course I'd never let Art know that I occasionally cheat on him with others. Bread baking junkies like me can't always afford the high dollar flour fix.

This type of all-or-none behavior is not new to me. My family hates to hear that I've found a new hobby, because they know that I don't know the meaning of the word "moderation," and that whatever this newest hobby is, they'll have to eat, breath and sleep it with me as well.

It's the challenge, of course, that fixates me. I get that. Baking bread is an art form and it truly does take time to master the craft. I'm the type that jumps into a challenge with both feet. And then once I master it, I typically get bored and move on. Bear with me until I get bored, OK?

This particular recipe interested me for several reasons. It's very easy and quick to make, taking less than an hour and a half from start to finish. Also, the reviews touted its great toasting characteristics as well as how wonderfully it worked as a panini bread. (ummm... yeah, I know... yet another obsession of mine.)

This recipe actually came from the King Arthur flour website, and if you check it out there, you'll find all the step-by-step photos that are very helpful for beginners (like myself.) And if you go to King Arthur's Baker's Banter, you'll find many more invaluable tips and tricks to help you be successful with this recipe.

English Muffin Toasting Bread

3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour
1 tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
1 tablespoon instant yeast
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
2 tablespoons 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

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 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" 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, 1/4" 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°F.

Remove the cover, and bake the bread for 20 to 22 minutes, till it's golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F.

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.

NOTES: The next time I make this I will replace some of the all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour.


stephchows said...

This bread looks amazing!! And I love that the rise time isn't forever!! I wish it had some whole wheat flour in it though... time to brows the KingA site for a good wheat recipe :)

Susie said...

Your bread looks so yummy.
We share obsession behavior.
I do the same with bread, quilting, hand and machine knitting, cake decorating, t shirt name it.
Susie in northern NY

Mags said...

Steph, next time I'm going to try to sub half the all purpose flour with white whole wheat flour. I'll let you know how it turns out.

Susie, it's nice to hear from other obsessive It gets expensive, doesn't it?

oneparticularkitchen said...

I think we're meant to be friends. Art and I go way back too. :)

n.o.e said...

I've become obsessed with yeast baking in 2009. I started with this very bread! And I always sub half white whole wheat flour. It's still a standby, especially when I'm in a hurry, but my favorite toasting bread now is Peter Reinhart's Mulitgrain Bread Extraordinaire. Simply amazing.
The Dogs Eat the Crumbs

Mags said...

oneparticularkitchen... does that mean Art's been cheating on me?

n.o.e.... I've seen Peter's name pop up many, many times online. Going to have to try his recipes.

Anonymous said...

I made this bread in the past and the texture is wonderful. I got to your site through KAF twitter. :) I am obsessed with them as well. :)

-Audrey from Michigan

Mags said...

Thanks for stopping by Audrey. I can't believe the King Arthur gang Twittered about me... too cool!

Bob said...

You? an all or nothing kinda gal?! No way, lolol. Those are some incredible freezer fotos! You have enough flour on hand to feed an army of weevils, (were it not kept in the fridge)

I've tortured myself long enough drooling all over your page!

I'll be back again though tho!

Mags said...

LOL Bob... I told you that you and Lynn created a monster when you directed me where to go for bread baking help!

Thanks for stopping by!