English Muffin Bread from Bernard Clayton

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  • #4641
    BakerAunt
    Participant

    I’ve been searching for an English Muffin Bread recipe, because a friend of ours loves the loaves he buys when he or a relative travels to a bakery in Michigan. I considered the KAF recipe that was recommended, and I looked at one that Rottiedogs recently posted. On Friday, I pulled out Bernard Clayton’s revised bread book, and that is the one I baked yesterday.

    Notes on the English Muffin Bread. It differs from the other recipes I’ve considered because it adds dissolved baking soda AFTER the first rise, when it is stirred into the batter, it has two rises, and it is baked in two 7 1/2 x 3 1/2-inch loaf pans (which I just happen to have) at 375F for an hour. The rises were much quicker than specified. I probably let the first rise go a bit too long at the specified hour. It was likely ready at 40-45 minutes. The second rise was ready in under 30 minutes, but I didn’t have the oven quite ready and had to wait the 30 minutes. There was a bit of sluffing over on the rim of the pan (Bernard Clayton says it won’t win a beauty contest), but not too bad, and if I’d gotten it into the oven more quickly, it might not have happened. The batter is very sticky, and it is difficult to stir in the baking soda (dissolved in 1 Tbs. of water). There is a bit of brown streaking, which my breads had, if not thoroughly combined, but the recipe states it will not affect taste. I used my dough whisk. I’m not sure what might work better–perhaps putting it on a silicone mat? It was also hard to divide in half in the bowl (did not want to separate). I’m not sure such a wet dough would work in pans that are not nonstick. My pans are older, so the coating is not as good as modern coatings. One loaf came close to sticking, even though the pans were well-greased. I’m wondering if sprinkling them with farina (cream of wheat) would help. The bread bakes for an hour at 375F.

    What I did differently: I used 1 cup of white whole wheat flour in place of 1 cup of bread flour in the 4-cup recipe. He does not recommend any particular brand of flour. Since KAF all-purpose is close to the strength of most regular bread flours, possibly I could have used AP, but since I was adding in the white whole wheat flour, I stuck with bread flour. The salt and yeast strike me as a bit high–2 1/4 tsp. (one packet) yeast, and 2 tsp. salt. Bernard Clayton used the instant dried yeast, while I used active dry yeast and proofed it with a bit of honey. Reducing the yeast and salt a bit might slow down the rise.

    The bread has lovely holes, and the top in particular gives it a chewiness. The flavor is great when toasted. The smaller loaf pans may contribute to giving it more of the texture of an English muffin. Of course, nothing will match a true English muffin, but this recipe does come close. Bernard Clayton mentions that he got it from a small bakery on the Oregon coast.

    I might try it with buttermilk next time–at least for half of the 2 cups of liquid. The recipe specified 1/2 cup powdered milk. I used 1/3 cup of the KAF special dried milk, which I note is KAF’s usual adjustment.

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    #4649
    luvpyrpom
    Participant

    Great thoughts and notes on the English Muffin breads – I agree with you, maybe next time try coating the sides w/farina. I mainly use the KAF recipe as it’s quick and I don’t have to haul out my bread machine, it’s mixer friendly. Plus, one loaf will last me a while to eat.

    #4650
    BakerAunt
    Participant

    I used my stand mixer with the flat beater. However, he also gives directions for using a food processor, or mixing by hand.

    This recipe would be a MESS in a bread machine.

    #4657
    BevM
    Participant

    BakerAunt, thank you for posting your experience with the English Muffin Bread. I tried a different recipe a while back, and was not happy with the texture and taste. I have Bernard Clayton’s cookbook and will try this one with your suggestions/changes.

    #4662
    BakerAunt
    Participant

    BevM–Let us know when you bake the recipe what you think of it.

    I really like Bernard Clayton’s bread books.

    #4663
    Mike Nolan
    Keymaster

    I have to admit that I don’t ‘get’ English Muffin bread. It looks vaguely like English Muffins, it doesn’t taste at all like them.

    This recipe sounds kind of messy, I hope someone tries it and reports back.

    #4664
    BevM
    Participant

    The other recipe I tried, didn’t in the least resemble English Muffins, in looks or taste. Unfortunately, I don’t remember where I got it.:( Eventually, I will try this one and report back.

    #4665
    cwcdesign
    Participant

    I found a link to James Beard’s English Muffin Bread which is similar to this one. I might give it a try – it doesn’t look too messy and is made in a 9″ pan (which I have). Thanks for the idea, BakerAunt. My one problem with the KAF recipe is that while I like the flavor, I don’t think it’s holes are big enough.
    diaryofatomato.com/2013/02/15/james-beards-english-muffin-bread

    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by cwcdesign.
    • This reply was modified 4 years, 8 months ago by cwcdesign.
    #4669
    BakerAunt
    Participant

    Mike–the recipe I tried is not that messy. It is hard to incorporate the dissolve baking soda (in 1 Tbs. of water) into the dough, but the dough whisk helps. To keep it from sticking to my hands, as I was dividing it and putting it into the pans, I put a little water on my hands.

    I have Beard’s bread book somewhere around here. I’ll have to look at the recipe and compare it, but right now, I will stick with Bernard Clayton’s recipe.

    #29462
    Mike Nolan
    Keymaster

    I was talking to someone yesterday who is looking for a recipe for English Muffin Bread (she can’t get it when she visits her family in California any more), so I’m bringing this thread up to the top again. She like it for French Toast. (With all the Challah I’ll be making later today, I think there will be some French Toast on the menu here soon.)

    There’s a URL upthread to a site that has James Beard’s recipe (from Beard on Bread, one of my favorite bread books), I note that it uses both yeast and baking soda, presumably the latter, added after the bulk rise, helps produces bigger holes more like an English Muffin.

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