Friday, December 2, 2016

Food Friday -We Love Bread!

from Tracey G.

This week, Kris and I raided our Fall issues of Sift, a most wonderful magazine published by King Arthur Flour, for our recipes. We both spotted breads that intrigued us, so, we decided to give them a whirl for our offering this week. I decided on the English Muffin Toasting Bread.

I decided on this recipe even before I read completely through it - I love English Muffins, so I knew I'd love this! After I read it, I had to re-read at least a couple times - because it couldn't possibly be that easy. I must have misread it - or misunderstood it...nope, it really is just that easy. Mix the dry ingredients in one bowl, microwave the liquids in another until the liquid mixture is about 120-130°F. Add to the dry, and mix. Once mixed, dump it into the lightly-greased-and-coated-with-cornmeal loaf pan. Let rise until just slightly above the top of the pan. Bake for about 27 minutes. And done. That easy. No kneading, whatsoever. Mix and toss into the pan, let rise and bake. Now, for me, my dough seems to be ready to bake by the time my oven has preheated - so that makes it even quicker!

The only thing that I did that made it slightly more difficult was to make a double batch - it's so sticky, lol, that it was really hard to divide between the two loaf pans! But it disappears around here so fast (I've made it numerous times now!) making a double batch is most prudent. True to its name, this is a marvelous toasting bread. Oh my goodness, it's the best stuff ever for toast! It gets that delightful toasty-chewy texture, and the surface-texture of it holds the butter wonderfully! I even turned it into a lovely garlic bread - toasted, brushed with olive oil and then rubbed with a clove of garlic. It was perfect!

It seems to keep well, and it also freezes quite nicely, which I was happy to find out - granted, it wasn't in the freezer for long, since as I said before - the bread doesn't last long in this household! I do plan on trying to get ahead and getting a few loaves into the freezer because this is one bread I can tell you for a fact, will be a staple in around here. I have never ever made a bread this easy before, ever. Not only is it easy to make, but it's fabulous to eat too - toasted or even not toasted! I've been known to slice off a piece and eat it as is - nothing adorning it, just naked bread! Yummy! This is one bread that even if you've never attempted to make bread before - you will nail perfection the first time around. Because even if it doesn't look too perfect, it tastes perfect! 

So, please, give the English Muffin Toasting Bread a try, you will not be disappointed! 

English Muffin Toasting Walk Through

from Kris B.

 Tracey mentioned that the English Muffin Toasting Bread recipe was easy to make.  Thankfully, so was the Apple-Oatmeal Bread, my choice from the fall issue of King Arthur Flour's Sift magazine.  It is confession time.  Tracey and I usually bake and take our photos reasonably in advance of each week's post.  Somehow that didn't happen for me this time.  I was baking this morning, hoping with all my might that the recipe worked and that I could get decent photos before I ran out of time and light.  I have always been one who works to deadlines.  I am not exactly a procrastinator.  My method for accomplishing most things is to think about them, let them roll around in my mind until the eleventh hour, and then get it down, hoping that all the things that I thought about how the task would be accomplished actually work in reality.  I am happy to say that today's tempting of fate was not a disaster!

The method for making the Apple-Oatmeal Bread is much like that of the English Muffin Toasting Bread.  All of the ingredients, minus a cup of the flour, are all stirred together vigorously for two minutes and then the remaining flour is worked in 1/3 of a cup at a time.  Then the dough is turned out on a floured board and kneaded until it is "smooth and elastic."

This bread requires two rises.  The recipe suggests that both will take about an hour.  With the first, the dough should double in volume and with the second, it should rise an inch above the pan.  In both cases, my rise time was about 45 minutes.  The bread then bakes for 30 minutes.  The entire process from start to finish, beginning with peeling and dicing the apples, took about three hours, with only about thirty minutes of that being hands-on time.  The result is superb!

I deviated slightly from the printed recipe.  In addition to oatmeal, apples, and a touch of cinnamon, the recipe calls for the addition of walnuts.  I am not a fan of nuts in bread, and if I am going to include nuts, walnuts are my least favorite.  Being in the South, pecans are my "nut of choice."  I debated with myself about leaving them out, but I wanted to maintain the integrity of the original recipe, so I made the substitution.  Another confession; I like the nuts in this bread.

Both of the recipes that Tracey and I have shared this week are part of an article in Sift about ways to dress up a grilled cheese sandwich.  Both the breads are so good on their own that at neither of our houses did they last long enough to get to sandwich making.  They were eaten hot out of the oven.  In fact, because everyone at my house was home all day today and were surrounded by the smell of the baking bread, I had to fend them off long enough to get the photos taken.  Once I surrendered the loaf, they were right there with a knife and butter.

I am definitely going to make this again with the intention of using it for grilled cheese sandwiches.  I also think that it would make a delicious french toast.

This recipe was originally posted on the King Arthur Flour website in January 2008.  That recipe makes two loaves.  The recipe included in the Fall 2016 issue of Sift is halved, thus it makes only a single loaf.  Other than that, the recipes are identical.

Apple-Oatmeal Bread

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