Substance

[Recipe: Whole-Wheat English Muffin Bread]

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I know: It’s not pretty. But pretty was not the point. Thankfully, my goals had more to do with substance than with outside appearance.

I just wanted to bake a loaf of bread. I wanted aroma. I wanted a medium-crisp crust that gave way to a springy and delicate crumb. I wanted something appropriate for a mid-afternoon pick-me-up, something that could hold its own equally well with a light slick of chunky peanut butter or a skosh of honey.

Summing it up, then: I was after taste, texture, warmth — all those qualities, yes, but not beauty.

And that’s a good thing, especially since this is often the type of outcome we can expect when we delegate: the results might not exactly meet our unremitting standards. (Take, for example, when you give your kid the job of cleaning the bathroom or making their own bed.)

I delegated the making of this loaf to my bread maker. It’s an appliance that hasn’t seen a lot of action lately, because I’ve been trying to do the bread-baking thing with my own two hands. But today I was in the mood for this specific recipe, and besides, there was definitely something liberating about dumping all the ingredients into the metal bowl and letting something else do the work for once — and then having it taste really, really good.

Even if the result wasn’t much to look at.

Whole-Wheat English Muffin Bread for the Bread Maker

adapted from KingArthurFlour.com

1 teaspoon vinegar
1/2 cup water
1 cup milk
2 tablespoons butter or canola oil
1 1/2 teaspoons kosher salt
1 1/2 teaspoons granulated sugar
1/2 teaspoon baking powder
3 1/2 cups whole-wheat flour (I used a combination of white & red whole wheat)
2 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
cornmeal (optional)

Program your machine for basic white bread, light crust. Midway through the second kneading cycle, check the dough; it should be soft, smooth and slightly sticky. Adjust the dough’s consistency with additional flour or water, if necessary. For a true English muffin effect, remove the dough after either the final kneading or before the final rise and roll it in cornmeal. Place the dough back in the machine to rise and bake.

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6 Responses so far »

  1. 1

    Elisa said,

    Yum. I think I had a dream about that last night. I believe it was in toast form–I do LOVE toast. Whole wheat toast is on a list somewhere of the greatest things ever invented, right?

  2. 2

    I have never owned a bread making machine, and wonder whether the benefit is worth the amount of space it would take up?
    Hmm
    Your bread may not look pretty, but it sounds yummn.

  3. 3

    Trisha said,

    Elisa: Oh, yes, whole wheat toast is a marvel. It never fails to make me happy.

    dressingmyself: It does take up a fair amount of space, but if you like to make homemade bread, it’s handy to have around on days when all that kneading and waiting just isn’t possible. That said, there are probably other precious-kitchen-space hogs that would be more useful to have around…

  4. 4

    So for those of us without a breadmaker, do you have a traditional method? Although then I might need a toaster, too…

  5. 5

    Trisha said,

    Camille: No toasters in Paris? Do people have them, in general, or do they toast using other methods? Toast is a must!

    Anyway, I have never made English Muffin bread in the traditional manner, but King Arthur Flour has what looks like a super-quick loaf: http://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/english-muffin-toasting-bread-recipe . I think I’ll have to try this next.

  6. 6

    Many people have toaster ovens (more practical for toasting baguettes) but I am lucky enough to have an actual oven. Counter space is at a premium, so no toaster.

    Thanks for the recipe!


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