Sunday, June 20, 2010

English Muffin Loaf

I'm back to my bread baking from Kneadlessly Simple. The first one I had to make was one that I had tried to make before we went to Texas, English muffin loaf. We love English muffins and so I thought that maybe this bread would work for us since we can't readily find English muffins here.

The first try was a mess. The recipe called for non-fat powdered milk. I couldn't find it here so I had to have it brought down to me when someone came from the States. Now the recipe calls for high-quality non-fat powdered milk but at that point I did not know the difference between low-quality and high-quality. Actually, what I now think that it means is a high heat dehydrated milk that bakers use, not the instant non-fat milk that you add water to to make milk.

My first try with the bread was bubbling along through the first rise but when I vigourously stirred in the "instant crystals," it seemed to lose all its gluten and just became a sticky glob. I went ahead and baked it, but it was very flat and tasteless.

Although the recipe was in Kneadlessly Simple, I called King Arthur Flour's help line and talked with a baker. He asked me what page the recipe was on, he pulled the book and we talked about how what happened. He felt that the problem was the powdered milk that I used. He also told me that King Arthur had a very popular English muffin loaf recipe and also a real English muffin recipe. The muffin recipe calls for mixing in a bread machine but I think it could be done in a stand mixer because after the dough is together then you roll it out and cut the muffins.

I still had visions of English muffins for breakfast, right out of my oven so I brought back the powdered non-fat milk from King Arthur Flours. Time to give the English muffin loaf recipe from Kneadlessly Simple another try. This time when I added the non-fat powdered milk the dough became a bit sticky but it didn't become a glutenless sticky glob although it was impossible to do as the recipe directs and cut with an oiled knife to divide it into two portions. Still I managed to get it into the loaf pans. It turned out "okay." I took one of the loaves to friends and they said it was good. Ned said it was good but not really like an English muffin. The crust was kind of a crisp chewy and the interior wasn't as textured or chewy as an English muffin. It did make a decent sandwich though. I thought that it was more trouble and time than the end result provided. I like a high return on my investment of time so I doubt that I will give this recipe another try.

My next bread may be the Potato Chive and Dill recipe. I found a beautiful bunch of dill that you usually can't find in San Miguel. I have chives growing on the terrace so it seems like I should be set. But wait.....I also need low-fat or non-fat yogurt. None of the tiendas around me nor Espinos have low-fat or non-fat yogurt. At least not yesterday. I'll need to make a trip to Mega and see if they have it. If I can find the yogurt before the dill goes bad, the potato, chive and dill loaf will be made and reported on.       


Bob Mrotek said...

For some time now I have had it in the back of my mind to open an English muffin, Polish sausage, sauerkraut, horse radish, egg glazed rye bread, and Polish style kosher dill pickle store in San Miguel. Perhaps we could collaborate :)

Theresa in Mèrida said...

The only reason I miss my microwave oven (it died about 18 months ago) is making English muffin bread. Bread on Bread has a great microwave English muffin bread recipe. It doesn't brown in the micro which is perfect because you toast it.
He does have another oven recipe, I should try it.
Bread making is so gratifying, isn't it?

Nancy said...


I am so enjoying your posts on breadmaking as I am baking a lot, though mostly sourdough. I don't have either of the books you have mentioned but have been using Nancy Silverton's Breads from the LaBrea Bakery as recommended by our fantastic Maz. baker, Hector.

I envy you your King Arthur flour, ours is all local soft wheat and I keep having to combine it with hard wheat or semolina that I bought in the states or in DF.

My last loaf was a rosemary olive oil that was delicious. I know you're not big on rosemary but it would be great with almost any herb I think.

Today I think I am going to start a sourdough english muffin recipe and maybe make some country white yeast bread for sandwiches!

Thanks for sharing all your breadmaking successes (and not so successes) too!

Susan said...

How timely is this!! I was going to make the English Muffin loaves today. I will now switch to plan B. Quick - what is my plan B?
Thanks for all your help and answering my questions. I'll be reporting back.

Gloria said...

I love baking bread. My dad baked bread and taught me his skills. I need to bake a loaf or too. Thanks for the inspiration. Have a great week.

Sam and Bob said...

When we were in SMA, we bought a lot of non-fat plain yogurt. We usually found it at Bonanza's.

The English Muffin bread sounds wonderful. Bob also misses his English Muffins in SMA.

Happy baking!

Nancy Baggett said...

So sorry to hear that the English Muffin bread didn't work well for you. Some folks who have tried it have written that they just loved it, which only proves what we already know--different strokes for different folks!

I should explain that by "high-quality powdered milk" I meant one that tasted good enough that when mixed with water it was drinkable. Some brands don't taste good enough for that.

I have no idea why the bread didn't rise as it was supposed to--usually from the description given I can surmise what when wrong, but unless the milk product really did have something wrong with it, I can't think of a cause. The Fleischmann's test kitchen made that recipe and thought it worked well.

I, too, like recipes that deliver a lot for the amount of work, and try to create that sort of recipe for my readers. Admittedly, the rising times are longer than normal, but many readers who have reviewed the book have really liked the fact that this makes it possible to completely skip kneading and just go off and let the dough ready itself.

Should you have any more questions, I'll be happy to answer them. I want people to have success with the recipes.

Billie said...

Nancy, I'm so pleased that you stopped by my blog again. I think your bread book is fabulous. I've written about it and talked about it so much that I know I've sold at least five copies.

I'm a novice bread baker so I'm not sure what to do if something goes wrong. The first time I tried the bread, I could have simply done something wrong and so that is why I didn't want to quit until I gave it another try. As I said, with the second try other people thought it was good and I thought the second try was okay. Maybe I just thought it was okay because I was expecting something more English muffin-y. I'm sure there will be other breads that I make from the book that I won't like as well as others but that is to be expected. And I'm sure I'll make a mistake or two along the way and mess up more than one loaf.

Now, I've got something funny to tell you. After I made the mess with the first loaf, I went to your website and tried to find an address to send you an email to discuss what I may have done wrong, or it was the altitude (6500 ft.) or the powdered milk or whatever. I clicked on "contact" and nothing popped up. I looked and looked at all the segments of the website but couldn't find an address. Today I went again and clicked on contact....then suddenly I spotted it down at the very bottom of the page in its own little window. Is there any wonder that I could have a problem with a recipe every once in awhile! LOL

phil said...

I love English Muffin Toasting bread, but I am to lazy to make it. Safeway has a nice one, but I want mine unsliced, and I have to get there before 9 or they have sliced all the loaves. One day, they were out, so I asked for a loaf of frozen dough. I would let it rise and bake it.

Once I went there, and they had some unsliced, because it had risen too much and would not fit in the bag, so they didn't slice them. I liked that even better, the inside was nice and airy, almost like French bread. So after that, when I got the frozen dough, I would let it rise 3" above the pan.

A few months later I went in and asked for 3 frozen loaves, and they wouldn't sell them to me. Said they got a letter from headquarters that it was a "health" hazard, because somebody might not bake it enough!

So now, unless I get up early, I don't get it unsliced. I want it about 1/4" the holes go through, and the butter melts and goes through the bread to the slice below. That way, it is nice and crunchy all the way through.

Nancy Baggett said...

Hi Billie! I went to see if something was wrong with my site as far as people contacting me. I couldn't really find the spot you mentioned being down in a corner. I did check the "contact" tab on the navigation bar at the top of my site, and an e-mail form does pop up. Just wanted U to know :-) I try to make it easy--honest!

Anyway, good luck with future recipes. And I really am happy to answer questions.

Billie said...

Nancy, the pop up not working could have something to do with my popup blocker although that didn't seem to bother the other tabs OR it could be because I'm in MX. I'm just surprised that the internet works at all. But now I know how to send you an email so you will hear from me if I need to clarify something.