English muffins aren't actually "English" but were created by an English man living in NYC. They are known for their nooks and crannies—those little pockets that hold your melted butter, jams, or spreads like a mama cradles her newborn.
The first time I put on my muffin hat and griddled English muffins, I wasn't a fan. The sheer labor and logistics involved in making them weren't fun. They're not muffins in the "scoop batter and bake" sense. They involve yeast, proofing dough, and griddling each and every muffin.
Instead of making individual English muffins, I started forming the dough into loaves that I could bake and then slice. Yes, some of the labor is still there, but it's less finicky because you don't have to worry about griddling the muffins in batches. You get the same yeasty flavor of the English muffins in a sliceable loaf of bread.
Bread Flour vs. All-Purpose Flour
The goal for English muffin bread is to be chewy, and bread flour, with its higher protein content, will give your bread that characteristic. You can use all-purpose flour in this recipe, but it won't be as chewy as the original recipe. Substitute all-purpose flour for the bread flour 1:1.
Tips for Making English Muffin Bread
- Make the full recipe. Trust me on this one. My philosophy is: if it requires more than an hour to make, the recipe better make enough to make it worthwhile. Because this bread freezes so well, I recommend making the full batch so you'll have an extra loaf in case of an "I need some bread" emergency.
- Take your time. The starter needs to rise and begin to fall before mixing with the rest of the dough. That's what will give your finished loaves that malty, yeast flavor. For an even deeper flavor, you can let your starter rise and deflate slightly, then transfer it to the fridge for 24 hours before using it. Just cover the bowl (or transfer it to a large, covered container) and store it in the fridge. You will need to remove the starter from the fridge 20 minutes before mixing, so the starter is the same temperature as the rest of the ingredients.
- Customize the top. The cornmeal sprinkle is a nod to the cornmeal bottoms of English muffins. You can omit it or sprinkle a few pinches of semolina, sesame seeds, poppy seeds, or simply leave the tops plain.
How to Serve English Muffin Bread
I've used this English muffin bread to make grilled cheese sandwiches, savory French toast, or, when it gets a bit stale, stuffing to serve with poultry. Or you can always serve it simply sliced and toasted with a generous slather of your favorite butter, jam, or preserves.
Storing and Freezing
Store the cooled, baked bread wrapped in plastic wrap, in a bread bag, or another airtight container, at room temperature for 3 to 4 days. Freshen up the flavor by toasting the sliced bread to your preferred toastiness.
You can also freeze English muffin bread for up to 3 months. Wrap it well in plastic film and a layer of foil to protect it from freezer burn. Thaw the bread, while still wrapped, at room temperature.
Top Candidates for Incredible Toast
English Muffin Bread
Cooking spray, for the pans
1 1/2 tablespoons (14g) active dry yeast
1 1/2 cups (350mL) warm water (110°F/43°C), divided
1/4 cup (50g) sugar
1 3/4 teaspoons (10g) kosher salt
1 large egg, room temperature
5 1/2 cups (665g) bread flour, divided
6 tablespoons (85g) butter, cubed, at room temperature
1 teaspoon cornmeal, optional, for topping
- 2 (9x5) loaf pans
- Stand mixer
Prepare the pans:
Grease two 9x5 loaf pans with cooking spray. Line the bottom and two sides of each pan with a strip of parchment, then lightly grease the parchment paper as well. This sling helps you lift the bread from the pans after baking.
Proof the yeast:
In the bowl of a stand mixer, use a rubber spatula to stir together the yeast and 1/4 cup of the warm water. Allow the yeast to bloom for 5 minutes in the warm water. The yeast should begin to foam and smell like beer. If the yeast shows no signs of movement, it's likely dead and needs to be replaced.
Mix the starter:
Add the remaining 1 1/4 cups of warm water, sugar, salt, and egg to the bowl along with 3 cups of the bread flour. Use the paddle attachment to blend the ingredients together at low speed until the mixture becomes a thick paste, 2 to 3 minutes. Stop the mixer and use the rubber spatula to scrape down the bowl.
Let the starter rise:
Cover the bowl with a clean towel and allow the starter to rise for 1 hour. After an hour, the starter will have doubled and begun to deflate. The center will look shriveled and wrinkled.
Mix in more flour and the butter, and knead:
Add the remaining 2 1/2 cups of bread flour and the butter to the bowl with the starter. Switch to the dough hook attachment and mix in the flour and butter at low speed. After 30 seconds of mixing, increase the speed to medium-low and continue kneading the dough for 10 minutes.
After 10 minutes, there may be a small amount of dough stuck to the bottom of the mixing bowl while the rest of the dough should have formed a ball around the dough hook. Remove the bowl from the mixer and cover it with a clean towel.
The dough will be tacky, which means it will feel like it wants to stick to your hands but will ultimately release. It shouldn't be super sticky, though. If it is, just knead in a 1/4 cup more bread flour.
Let the dough rise, then rest:
Allow the dough to rise until it has doubled in size, about 1 hour. Use your fist to punch down the dough to dispel the gasses that have built up. Allow the dough to rest in the bowl for 10 minutes.
Form the loaves, and let them rise:
Lightly dust your clean countertop with bread flour, then divide the dough in half. Form into cylinders the length of the bread pan by rolling them into a cigar shape. Transfer the formed loaves into the prepared pans, then cover the pans with a towel before allowing the dough to rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes.
After placing the dough into the pans for the final rise, preheat the oven to 375°F (190°C).
Bake the bread:
After the dough has risen for the last time, lightly brush the tops with warm tap water, just to moisten the dough slightly, then sprinkle on a generous pinch (about 1/2 teaspoon) of cornmeal over the moistened dough.
Bake the bread loaves until the tops are golden brown and the loaves sound hollow when tapped, 20 to 25 minutes.
Remove the pans from the oven and allow them to cool for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, remove the loaves of bread from the pans and place them on a cooling rack. Cool the loaves for 10 minutes to allow their exterior to set up slightly before removing the parchment paper and cooling further.
Allow the loaves to cool for at least 20 minutes after removing them from the oven to get the best slices.
Store excess bread in a container or tightly wrapped for up to 4 days. Leftovers slices are best toasted.
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|Nutrition Facts (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 4g||6%|
|Saturated Fat 2g||12%|
|Total Carbohydrate 27g||10%|
|Dietary Fiber 1g||4%|
|Total Sugars 3g|
|Vitamin C 0mg||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|