English muffin bread: just right for toasting

Jareene Barkdall of Baltimore requested a recipe for English muffin bread. It makes the best toast, she wrote. She wanted to prepare it in a bread machine, but none of the responses received included instructions for a bread machine.

Tester Laura Reiley chose a recipe sent in by Jeannie Rand of Walla Walla, Wash., who wrote: "I don't know if this bread could be made in an electric bread maker or not. I have never tried. The recipe came from 'Better Homes & Gardens Homemade Bread Cook Book.' "

English Muffin Bread

Makes 1 loaf

2 1/2 to 3 cups all-purpose flour

1 package active dry yeast

1 1/4 cups water

1 tablespoon sugar

3/4 teaspoon salt

cornmeal, for dusting

In a large mixing bowl, combine 1 cup flour and yeast. In a saucepan, heat water, sugar and salt until warm, 115 to 120 degrees, stirring to dissolve sugar. Add to dry ingredients in bowl. Beat at low speed with electric mixer for half a minute. By hand, stir in enough remaining flour to make a soft dough. Shape into a ball. Place in a lightly greased bowl; turn once to grease surface. Cover and let rise until doubled, about 1 hour. Punch dough down, cover and let rest 10 minutes.

Grease a 1-quart casserole dish and sprinkle with cornmeal. Cover; let rise until doubled (about 30 to 45 minutes). Bake at 400 degrees for 40 to 45 minutes. Cover top loosely with foil if bread browns too quickly. Remove from dish; cool on wire rack.

Rand notes that she prefers using a casserole for a round loaf but that an 8 1/4-by-4 1/4 loaf pan could be used.

Tester Laura Reiley's comments: "This is a very tasty white bread, especially when warm. With the cornmeal, it does resemble English muffins. The crust is pleasantly chewy and the interior is soft and airy. It makes very good toast. I think I added just a bit more than 3 cups of flour to get a dough that wasn't too sticky. I don't have a bread machine, so I'm not sure how this would work in one."

Recipe requests

* E. Eltringham of Westminster is seeking a recipe called Crab Callahan, which she enjoyed at a now-closed restaurant in Crisfield.

* Alexander A. Chasan of Baltimore writes: "My daughter showed me your column and reminded me that I had been looking for a recipe for years. My mother used to make chremslech [fruit fritters] and I cannot find any recipe that might shed light on it. Your efforts on my behalf are appreciated."

If you are looking for a recipe or can answer a request for a hard-to-find recipe, write to Ellen Hawks, Recipe Finder, The Sun, 501 N. Calvert St., Baltimore, Md. 21278.

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