This month’s #Baketogether challenge with Abby Dodge seemed easy enough but it’s the holiday season and nothing is easy during the holidays is it? So many obligations it can feel like anything but ‘holidayish’ and I’m reminded that we all need to take some time to breathe and remember to treasure the season. Making our family festivities just a bit more crazed are the birthdays that come along for the ride. My daughter’s birthday was last Monday and mine on Monday of this week. As it turned out, Em had taken the day off on mine so though very impromptu we ended up spending most of the day in the kitchen making some goodies for holiday gift giving. My idea of a perfect day. This Whole Wheat & Honey English Muffin Bread also my idea of perfect!
What did we make? Emily made a truly fabulous Eggnog Bread that will be featured next Monday (she even wrote the post for me…the perfect birthday present!) and I spent most of the day stirring gallons of goat milk as we prepared cajeta (really dulce de leche but made with goat milk) which we’ll package and give as gifts to everyone we know (except you Karen; I haven’t forgotten!). I decided to work on the #Baketogether challenge; it seemed very quick and easy and would have been (and been more successful) if I had just not messed with it so much!
I thought it might be interesting to try and make something with the texture of English muffins but in bread form. My downfall was the genius idea of making it a Cinnamon Swirl loaf. It wasn’t all that hard to incorporate the layer of cinnamon and sugar but I think in hindsight that the effort of flattening the dough into a rectangular shape, even though every so lightly, to allow me to sprinkle on the cinnamon/sugar combination messed too much with the air pockets. I eliminated the baking powder too, thinking yeast would be enough at altitude to get a good rise but a bit of it helps.
Adding insult to injury was the fact that in an effort to not manipulate the dough too much, I don’t think the cinnamon was spread through the dough adequately; the majority of it was in one area which sort of left this big hole in the bread; another big negative in my book. A bunch of little holes? Good. One big cinnamon and sugar hole? Bad. The scent was great as it baked but the end result just felt lacking and I did something I seldom do; a redo…yes, that’s right. Groundhog day.
While eliminating the notion of filling the bread with cinnamon and sugar, I also changed up what I used to grease the bread pans. Yesterday’s effort was coming to a close later in the day and I was in a hurry to finish up so I sprayed some oil in the bread pans before dusting them with corn meal. Except some pieces didn’t get dusted; they got a bit more assaulted with corn meal. I don’t love that spray stuff anyhow and was reminded of one big reason why. Lack of quality control.
Spreading butter using a paper towel assures me of a more consistent finish; using the spray product yielded some areas of the crust that apparently had the spray ‘glop’ a bit and resulted in the cornmeal ‘glopping’ in places. When I punted? Even layer of butter, even layer of cornmeal and much more even layer of overall goodness! If you do want to use a spray; just be sure to use a paper towel and wipe the inside of your pan to assure the same thing doesn’t happen.
I just LOVE this cranberry/apple butter I made recently; the same smooth texture of apple butter with a bit of added zing and a lot of color and a perfect compliment to a crispy ‘English Muffin’ bread slice. This combination of a loaf of bread and some fruit butter will make a great gift for some of my friends; it was simply meant to be. I can not deny that part of the amazing goodness of this toast was in the preparation. Forgo your toaster oven and grill these slices on a griddle with some butter until browned. You will not regret it.
No apples or cranberries? Well, just for my readers I did a test with my usual suspect. I love honey on toast and this did not disappoint. Little pockets of butter and honey on a pan fried crispy piece of toast? Oh yeah, that’s good!
Whole Wheat & Honey English Muffin Bread
- 1 ⅔ cups milk
- 1 pack quick yeast
- 1 ½ teaspoon honey
- 1 ½ cups whole wheat flour
- 1 ½ cups bread flour
- 1 teaspoon salt
- ½ teaspoon baking soda
- Corn Meal
- Proof yeast. Warm the 1 2/3 cups of milk to between 105 to 110 degrees. Add 1 package of quick yeast and 1 1/2 teaspoon honey.
- Combine whole wheat flour, bread flour, salt, and baking soda. Mix well.
- Prep 8 X 4 loaf pan with a coat of butter and dust with cornmeal.
- Combine wet and dry ingredients and mix until completely combined.
- Move dough to prepared pan.
- Cover with waxed paper and place in warm place to rise to the top of the pan, about 30 minutes. Halfway through baking preheat oven to 375 degrees.
- Bake for approximately 35-40 minutes until golden brown.
- Remove from pan to cooling rack. Brush with butter for a softer crust.