So, I have a confession to make. It is quite ironic because my first post was a cake, and this may come to your disbelief–I dislike making cakes. I do, I do. There, I said it. I feel much better to get that off of my chest.
When I was in pastry school everyone could not wait to get to ‘Cakes and Tortes’ and ‘Specialty Cakes’ class. I was horrified.
My cakes didn’t rise, my butter cream was never smooth-and I wondered if I had chosen the wrong career path. I was never known as the girl with the prettiest cakes, or the most creative designs. I was known as the girl who ate everything and was ALWAYS covered head to toe in chocolate.
Even though making cakes was not my forte, I went along with it (I really had no choice) and I learned the basics of levening, eggs, sugar, different flours-etc. .. and THEN… I began a class that changed my life. Breads. Oh, bread-how I love thee. Yeast breads, quick breads, sweet breads, savory breads–the list never stops! There is something about fresh-out-of-the-oven bread that can make even the worst day good.
I had a different post to share with you today–I thought. Until my cheesecake turned into a brown lump of goo and puff in my oven. (I don’t know what happened. I almost cried until I realized there is no use crying over burnt, soggy cheesecake.) I decided to redeem myself with this. English muffin bread. What? Yes. Instead of making individual round muffins, I put the dough into a bread pan and –WALLAH!
English Muffin Bread
2 1/2 tsp. Active Dry Yeast*
3/4 C. Warm water (about 110 degrees)
1 oz. Sugar
1 tsp. Salt
1/2 an egg**
12 oz. Bread Flour
1 1/2 oz. Butter
*Don’t have instant dry yeast? Check here for conversions.
**To yield half of an egg, whisk the egg with a fork and then weigh it on a digital scale. Take half the weight, and use it in this recipe. Put the other half in a small skillet and enjoy! ;)
Place warm water, yeast, and sugar in a stand mixer with the paddle attachment. Let sit 5 minutes, the yeast will begin to feed on the sugar and foam. Next add the egg, salt, and approximately 2/3 of the flour. Mix until combined (will feel like a paste). This is your sponge. Put your sponge in a glass or metal bowl that has been sprayed with non-stick spray. Put in a warm place and let rise to double its height.
I like to pre-heat my oven to 350 degrees and then turn it off, and put my dough or sponge in the hot oven. I always place the bowl on something else (for this I used a cupcake tray) so that the bottom of the bowl doesn’t touch the hot oven rack and begin to cook. My sponge took 30 minutes to double.
Once your sponge has doubled, put it back into the mixing bowl and switch the paddle attachment for the dough hook. Make sure your butter is room temperature and add it to the sponge, once almost incorporated, add the rest of the flour and mix until smooth. This dough will be stickier than most yeast doughs because it is not kneaded.
Spray your loaf pan with non-stick cooking spray, and then liberally coat the sprayed pan with cornmeal.
Form dough into the shape of your pan and place inside. Let dough double in size, then bake at 375 degrees for approximately 30 minutes, or until the top is golden brown.
I could not resist and instantly pulled the hot bread out of the pan (you should probably let it cool about 30 minutes before removing it from the loaf pan). I cut into its steamy, yeasty, delicious crust–it was heaven. BUT–I knew, I knew that this delicious loaf needed something else. Just a little something…. what is in my freezer that I can—WAIT, last week strawberries were on sale and I bought 2 pints (that is way too many strawberries for two people to eat before they spoil) and I stuck one in the freezer door! Aha!
I always put fruit in the freezer that I know we won’t eat in time, and use it for various things–like this!
Quick Strawberry Jam
1 Pint Strawberries (frozen or not)
3/4 oz. Certo liquid fruit pectin
1 2/4 C. Sugar
Cut strawberries in quarters and put in a small pot and put on medium heat.
Once the strawberries start breaking down, use an emersion blender and blend to the consistency of your choice. (I chose to keep mine quite chunky.)
Add sugar. Cook until rolling boil, then add pectin. I heated a quart size canning jar under hot running water and then poured the hot jam in.
I let the jam sit on the counter until I heard it seal. *pop*! ;) This took about 20 minutes, then I stuck it in the fridge for 6 hours.
This jam and this bread are like… peanut butter and jelly-peas and carrots-chocolate and my tummy! ;)
I’m serious. Make this. Bake it. Toast it. Spread it. Love it!
(Pictures coming soon! This was one of my accidentally deleted posts.)
Keep Calm and Bake On.
The Girl With the Cupcake Tattoo