Making these little birds can keep kids or guests busy until the big bird is…
Summer bread baking – why not? Use your microwave! No hot oven needed. It sounded ludicrous when a colleague mentioned a Fleischmann’s yeast recipe, developed probably in the ‘70s when microwave ovens were the most revolutionary kitchen appliance around.
The recipe is English Muffin bread. A simple, hand-stirred dough that rises in 45-60 minutes in a glass loaf pan, then ‘bakes’ 7 minutes in the microwave. No kidding, that simple. Rita made it during our record heat. Now she’s hooked, and she’s the non-baker between us! And on a hot day, unless you’ve cranked-up the AC, your kitchen is likely the perfect proofing temperature. The dough rises quickly with a boost of baking soda that adds extra bubbles which translates to butter-soaking nooks and crannies for English Muffin toast.
Yes, since it’s English muffin bread, it’s best toasted. That’s where browning and crispness happens, just like traditional English muffins. There are umpteen variations you can make from cheesy-savory to dried fruit and nuts (see below). Create your own, I think you’ll love it!
Microwave English Muffin Bread
- Butter and cornmeal for pan
- 2-3/4 cups all-purpose unbleached, or part whole wheat flour (see variations below), divided use
- 1 pkg active dry 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. Toast to serve. Best within the first day; keeps up to 3 days.
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. Recipe adapted from Fleischmann's Yeast and shared with me from Wolf Appliance.