english muffin bread

This is a story of how I killed the yeast and brought it back to life. There is only one picture of the entire thing because I was quite convinced the entire time it was a slow moving car accident.

Over the past few weeks, I have been attempting to purge my apartment of things that I don't need. It isn't that I don't love my stuff, it's just that there is too much of it and I don't need it. Example? Red flannel sheets. I have moved them from apartment to apartment for 5 years. I have used them once.

As part of all this purging, I have accumulated quite a few recipes that I've torn out of magazines. The pile that I have at my apartment is nothing compared to the pile I have stashed at my parents' house. In an effort to love it or leave it, I figured I'd give this english muffin recipe I found in the WSJ a shot. The timing was perfect. I was out of carbs in my apartment, it was raining, and I had some flexibility in my schedule for experimenting.

This recipe is considerably different than my standard one. It doesn't call for an egg or baking powder and it requires more "manual labor". It's a two phase rise and there is kneading as well. All things that I'm not super opposed to, but much more work.

But, I didn't finish this recipe because I inadvertently overheated the milk, which killed the yeast, which resulted in pretty much zero rise. A little part of me knew what I had done when the dough was legit hot as opposed to cozy warm ... but I was hopeful. But when the dough didn't magically rise in the way we kitchen people find so enchanting .... I went with plan B.

Loaf pans.

After about 35 minutes in the oven, these loaves came out of the oven looking like giant english muffins. This version of english muffins is quite different from my first pass. It has much more of a sourdough consistency and flavoring to it. I'm actually quite a fan and will make it again at some point. And by some point, I mean when it's winter and not 85 degrees in Boston. It's too hot to be using a stove top and an oven around these here parts (if you follow the recipe correctly that is).

Here's how it goes.

(Step 1) In a large bowl, stir together flour, yeast, salt and sugar.

(Step 2) In a small saucepan, heat milk until warm. Stir in oil or butter. I went with oil.

(Step 3) While stirring, slowly pour warm milk into flour mixture until just incorporated. Using your hands, work dough until ingredients are well combined and just starting to form a ball. (Dough will be slightly sticky.) Cover bowl with a towel, set in a warm place and let dough rest until it has risen by half, 45-60 minutes.

(Step 4) Turn dough out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead dough just enough to get a good ball of dough... not too much. Sprinkle cornmeal on the bottom of the loaf pans. Divide the dough into two loaf pans and pop into the oven.

(Step 5) Cook at 375 for about 35-45 minutes. You'll know its done by the crunchy looking bread exterior. It's still bread folks.

Shopping List
4 loosely packed cups bread flour
1 (8.75-gram) packet active dry yeast
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon sugar
2¼ cups whole milk
2 tablespoons olive oil or melted butter, plus more for greasing pan
2 tablespoons cornmeal

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