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English Muffin Bread – perfect for Summer

Microwave English Muffin Bread
Makes 1 loaf, about 16-20 slices. Recipe can be doubled. Bake one pan at a time.
Adapted from Fleischmann’s Yeast recipe, shared by Wolf Appliance

Butter and cornmeal for pan
2-3/4 cups all-purpose, unbleached, or part whole wheat flour (see variations below)
1  package yeast (.25 oz.), undissolved
1-1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon table salt
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk (2% or whole)
1/4 cup water
See suggestions for flavor variations below

Grease an 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch glass loaf pan. Sprinkle bottom and sides with cornmeal; set aside.

Combine 2 cups of the flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda in a large bowl. Stir well.

Combine milk and water in a 2-cup glass measuring cup. Microwave about 1 minute on high until warm to the touch (105°F-110°F). Add to the dry ingredients with choice of nuts, dried fruit or cheese  if desired; stir well.

Stir in remaining 3/4 cup flour, to make a stiff moist dough. Transfer to prepared pan.

Cover with a dry towel and let rise in a warm place 45-60 minutes, or until it reaches nearly to the top of the pan. Microwave on high power 7 to 8 minutes.  Bread will not brown but will rise a little more and top will be dry. If you have an instant read thermometer, center should be at least 200F.

Let rest 5 minutes in pan. Run a knife around edge and turn out. Cool completely before slicing about 1/2-inch thick. Wrap loaf or slices in plastic bag; keep at room temp 2-3 days. Refrigerate or freeze for longer storage. Toast directly from refrigerator or freezer.

Ready to rise in cornmeal  dusted pan. [1]

Nearly to top after rising 45-60 minutes. [2]

All done! This loaf is orange zest and golden raisins. [3]

Variations:
Whole Wheat or White: 
Use about 1:1  white and whole wheat flour. The recipe is flexible; use a little more or less whole wheat if you like. And try rye too!
Dried Fruit & Nut:  Your choice of about 1/3 cup raisins, dried cherries, currants, diced apricots and 1/4 cup chopped nuts.
Orange & Walnut with Golden Raisins:  Add 1 tablespoon grated orange zest, 1/3 cup golden raisins and 1/4 cup chopped walnuts.
Cheddar Cheese:  Add 3/4 cup (3 oz.) shredded Cheddar cheese.
Sour Cream & Chive:
  Replace 1/4 cup of the milk with 1/4 cup sour cream; add 1-1/2 tablespoons minced fresh chives or freeze-dried.
Garlic:  Add 3/4 teaspoon garlic powder and 1 tablespoon chopped parsley.

Rita’s Whole Wheat Raisin [4]

Rosie’s Cheese loaf, and Whole Wheat Raisin [5]