As the weather cools, my kitchen shifts into baking mode. I often make bread at home, and an easy no-knead English muffin bread is a family favorite. It takes just 2 hours from start to finish, which means I can have the idea for a soup-and-bread supper at lunchtime, and have the bread ready to go in the evening.
This bread also makes the best toast! The relatively open crumb (think nooks and crannies!) holds melting pools of butter. Add honey or perhaps some jam, and you’ll have one of the best humble treats your kitchen can possibly offer.
There’s no need for a mixer to make this bread. My favorite dough whisk does a great job. It’s easier to use than a spatula or a spoon because of the wire-loop design: it glides through the dough but incorporates flour thoroughly.
Baking bread doesn’t have to be difficult. This no-knead English muffin bread is a case in point: just stir it together, let it rise, put the dough in 2 pans, and bake. This is easy baking at its best: you’ll get great rewards for little effort.
No-knead English Muffin Bread
- 5¾ cups all-purpose flour (690 g)
- 2¼ cups warm water (530 ml)
- 1 tbsp kosher salt (Diamond Crystal)** (18 g)
- ** if you use Morton salt, use 1½ tsp instead
- 4 tsp granulated sugar (to taste) (16 g)
- 4¼ tsp instant yeast
- FOR THE PANS
- butter or nonstick spray
- ⅓ cup cornmeal (50 g)
- In a large mixing bowl, stir together the flour, water, salt, sugar, and yeast with a dough whisk or sturdy spoon until it has no dry pockets. The dough will be shaggy and very sticky. Grease a piece of waxed paper with oil or cooking spray, and put it, greased side down, over the dough. Place the bowl in a warm draft-free place until the dough looks puffy and bubbly and has risen to about double its size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
- While the dough rises, grease two standard (8.5 x 4.5 inch) loaf pans with butter or nonstick cooking spray, and sprinkle some cornmeal in each pan. Tilt the pans, tapping gently, until the cornmeal coats the sides and bottom of the pan. Tap out the excess cornmeal. This makes the bread easy to remove once baked.
- When the dough has risen, it’s time to get it into the pans. It’s sticky, right? This part’s messy: grease or oil your hands, and divide the dough in half. Put each half into one of the prepared pans. The pans should be about halfway full.Cover the pans loosely with oiled plastic wrap and let rise in a warm, draft-free place until the dough is once again bubbly and puffy looking, and peeking above the edges of the pans, about 30–45 minutes.
- Toward the end of the rising time, preheat oven to 350˚F / 175˚C.
- When the loaves are risen, put the pans in the center of the oven and bake for 40 minutes. The loaves should be browned and will sound hollow when turned out of the pan and tapped on the bottom. The interior will register at least 190˚F on a digital thermometer.
- Remove from the pans and cool completely on a rack before slicing for the best texture. Baked loaves will store well at room temperature for several days. They also freeze well.