This recipe for English Muffin Bread is perfect for bread-making novices or experts alike. A bread that’s perfect for snacking, toasting, or for making sandwiches and Eggs Benedict.
What is an English Muffin?
English muffins are small, flat disks, made with yeast, sliced horizontally for toasting and topping with jam or using in Eggs Benedict recipes. In England however, they’re simply called “muffins”, though made still a little different, with not so much air incorporated into them. It’s thought that long ago, here in the US, we labeled English Muffins as such to differentiate them from our standard muffins, which are the more cake-like, usually sweet little bread-cakes that Americans know today (you know, blueberry muffins, etc.).
Since the common English Muffin is mostly crust, sometimes they’re quite crunchy after being toasted. Maybe also quite hard on the tooth? Maybe I’m the only one who either a) overtoasts my muffins, or b) keeps them around too long so they’re too stale before I’ve even begun. But because of ‘a’ and ‘b’, I’ve been wanting to try English Muffin Bread for a long time. And now that I have and I know how easy it is to make with common ingredients, ready in about an hour (including rising time), I’ll be making English Muffin Bread often.
The recipe I settled on and love most comes from King Arthur Flour’s site. I love this brand of flour of every kind (this is not a post sponsored by them), so figured they wouldn’t steer me wrong. The recipe was basically perfect but I did find a few important tricks along the way, so I’ve expounded a bit in the directions of their recipe to help you get it absolutely perfect. With this recipe, your English Muffin Bread will come out with a golden crust and a layer of cornmeal around the outside, thanks to the dusting that you place in the loaf pan after greasing it. Rapid rise yeast (also called Instant Yeast) is the key to getting the bread finished in a short amount of time, requiring it to rise only once before baking.
Dry ingredients are whisked together, including the yeast and then the wet ingredients get heated in the microwave to the perfect temperature to interact with the yeast (an instant-read thermometer is helpful here). The short list of ingredients are mixed together for a very quick minute, and this can be done in your stand mixer or with a hand mixer, or even beaten by hand if you prefer. Once the dough is smooth but a little rubbery, spread it into the greased and cornmeal-lined loaf pan to rise. The bread will rise to the perfect level in less than an hour unless your kitchen is very cold.
Baking the bread takes less than 30 minutes, testing with the thermometer for an internal temp of 190F degrees before removing from the oven. But not to worry if you don’t have a thermometer for testing the doneness after baking or even to test the temperature of your heating liquids. I’ll tell you how to guesstimate both of these steps without it.
Once the bread is completely cooled, you can slice it and it slices beautifully. Best of all, the taste is moist, airy, and just tart enough, and with just a crust enough- crunchy around the outside of the bread and not on the entire one side of it. Delicious toasted (or not) with your favorite jam.
Over and above serving the bread toasted with jam, we can’t forget Eggs Benedict. This English Muffin Bread is the perfect base for wild smoked salmon, or soft and thin lox, baby spinach, and a soft boiled, poached, or fried egg. In my case, I top it with my husband’s famous turmeric eggs just before serving.
Don’t forget to save English Muffin Bread to your “Bread” or “Breakfast” boards and let’s be friends on Pinterest! I’d love to share tasty recipes with you.
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English Muffin Bread
- 3 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1 ½ tsp salt
- ¼ tsp baking soda
- 1 tbsp rapid rise dry yeast
- 1 cup milk
- ¼ cup water
- 2 tbsp olive oil or canola oil
- cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan
- Before scooping your flour, fluff it up with a whisk or large spoon. Use the scoop and level method for measuring.
- Measure the 3 cups flour into a large mixing bowl, or the bowl of a stand mixer. Add the sugar, salt, baking soda, and instant yeast. Whisk together briefly.
- 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.
- Using an electric beater, or stand mixer with paddle attachment, beat at low speed for 10 seconds, then beat at high speed for 1 minute; the dough will be smooth and very soft. If you don't have an electric mixer, beat by hand for 2 to 3 minutes, or until the dough is smooth and starting to become elastic.
- Lightly grease an 8 ½" x 4 ½" loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal.
- Scoop the dough into the pan, it's a little rubbery now, leveling it in the pan as much as possible. Using your fingers, coated with a tiny bit of oil, helps to achieve this.
- Spray plastic wrap with cooking spray or lightly coat with some oil (so the dough doesn't stick to it when it rises). Cover the pan with the plastic, 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" 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 22 to 27 minutes, till it's golden brown and its interior temperature is 190°F. During the last 15 minutes or so of baking, feel free to lightly tent some aluminum foil over the bread if you think it's browning too quickly. I do this every time after 9 or 10 minutes of baking and after 22 minutes of baking are complete I check the internal temperature and if it needs additional baking time, I keep the foil on.
- Remove the bread from the oven and immediately melt about 1/2 tablespoon of butter or oil over the top and then sprinkle top with a light dusting of corn meal (this step is optional but makes the top look nice). After 5 minutes turn it out of the pan onto a rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing.
- Even though I give instructions for testing the bread without a thermometer, using one ensures perfection for incorporating the liquid with the yeast to get the perfect rise.
- The bread will keep at room temperature when wrapped, for 3 days, but will keep in the refrigerator for 7 days. Freeze for up to 3 months.
Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour with extra clarifications and steps for successful baking, etc.