I'M LATE! FOR A VERY IMPORTANT DATE!
Time for a little YeastSpotting!
I hate being late and I hate keeping anybody waiting. If I have to, I leave way too early for a date or an appointment, preferring to be the one kept waiting. Call me crazy, but being late or, worse and Heaven Forbid!, forgetting an appointment completely awakens in me all of my feelings of guilt, stirring them up and making them all rush straight uphill into my head, causing the worst case of red face you will ever have seen. This is not a pretty sight. Nor is my agitation when finally arriving to said date or the utter and complete panic, pounding heart and shaking hands, when wondering if I have forgotten something or someone.
And now I have just realized that I have missed one episode of YeastSpotting and am on the verge, I fear, of being late for another. Yipes and Heaven Help Me! I can only just imagine poor White Rabbit’s mad rushing willy-nilly through Wonderland, eyes on his pocket watch, muttering to himself "Oh dear! Oh dear! I shall be too late!"
Yeastspotting is a weekly event focused totally on baking with yeast created by Susan of Wild Yeast. After my first participation in this wonderful food blog event, I was hooked. I love bread baking though I have always feared it a little, and YeastSpotting is a way to keep me on my yeasty toes, in a manner of speaking, pushing me to think beyond my weekly homemade pizza dough.
Once I realized that I completely missed last weeks event, I knew that I absolutely had to get
my bread made for this week’s YeastSpotting. I decided to forego the creativity and go straight for the straightforward. Flipping through the pages of my brand new Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book, I found a simple recipe and threw myself right into the task. And I am so glad I did.
I may be sliding right under the wire, but on my kitchen work top are 2 fabulous loaves of English Muffin Bread.
ENGLISH MUFFIN BREAD
From The Better Homes and Gardens New Cook Book
Makes 2 light, airy, luscious loaves, perfect for a simple spreading of butter and jelly.
6 cups (750 g) all-purpose flour
2 packages active dry yeast (I used 3 envelopes, 4.6 g each = 13.8 g)
¼ tsp baking soda
2 cups (500 ml) milk
½ cup (125 ml) water
1 Tbs sugar
1 tsp salt
Grease (I used vegetable oil) two 8 x 4 x 2-inch loaf pans (about 20 x 10 x 5-cm). Lightly sprinkle bottom and sides with cornmeal. Set aside.
In a large mixing bowl, combine 3 cups (375 g) of the flour, the yeast and the baking soda. In a medium-sized saucepan, gently heat the milk, the water, the sugar and the salt, stirring, just until warm (skin temperature). Immediately remove from the heat and stir into the flour mixture using a wooden spoon.
Gradually stir in the remaining flour, turning out onto your work surface to gently knead or blend in the last of the flour by hand if stirring becomes too difficult. I kneaded very briefly, just enough to make a soft, fairly smooth, homogenous dough.
Divide the dough in half and form each half into a loaf or log that will fit into the loaf pans. Place the 2 loaves into the prepared pans.
Sprinkle the tops of the loaves with cornmeal.
Cover (I covered loosely with plastic wrap and then a clean kitchen towel) and allow to rise in a dry, warm place until doubled in bulk, about 45 minutes.
Preheat the oven to 400°F (200°C) about 10 minutes before the rising period is done.
Uncover the loaves and bake for about 25 minutes or until golden brown.
Remove the loaves onto cooling racks and turn the loaves out of the pans as soon as you can handle them.
Allow to cool on the cooling racks, although I sliced into the first loaf while it was still warm, the better to spread with butter and jelly!