Sunday, April 19, 2015

Buttermilk Toasting Bread

It was our first week back on board and I had provisioning issues. The larder was nearly empty; no eggs, milk, fruit, yogurt, bread...  not anything even remotely tempting for breakfast before I headed ashore for groceries. Luckily a tin of powdered buttermilk could substitute for the liquid milk called for in my favorite English Muffin Toasting Bread recipe. Success! This adaptation worked so well that it might become the new standard for this loaf.

True to its name, the bread does invite toasting for best effect. Untoasted it is a bit dense with a tight crumb, more like a poundcake loaf rather than sandwich bread. That texture works beautifully to toast a thick slice and slather it with butter or jam, or even broil some as a base for sliced berries and yogurt. This week I welcomed it as a quick solution to an early-morning breakfast long before the stores opened. Early morning? Oh yes, it's the helicopter overhead story. (link)

Buttermilk (English Muffin) Toasting Bread
makes 1 loaf

3 cups AP flour
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 1/2 teaspoons salt
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
4 Tablespoons instant buttermilk powder
1 Tablespoon instant yeast
1 1/4 cups water
2 tablespoons vegetable oil or olive oil
cornmeal, to sprinkle in pan

Whisk together the flour, sugar, salt, baking soda, buttermilk powder and instant yeast in a large mixing bowl.

Combine the milk and oil in a separate, microwaveable bowl, and heat to between 120°F and 130°F

Pour the hot liquid over the dry ingredients in the mixing bowl and mix to combine. Then knead with a dough scraper and one hand for 5 minutes or more. The dough will be very soft, but resist the temptation to add more flour.

Lightly grease an 8 1/2" x 4 1/2" loaf pan, and sprinkle the bottom and sides with cornmeal. Scoop the soft dough into the prepared pan, and leveling it as much as possible.

Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap sprayed lightly with cooking spray (or use a tea towel) and let the dough rise till it's just barely crowned over the rim of the pan. This will take about 45 minutes to 1 hour, if your kitchen isn't very cold. While the dough is rising, preheat the oven to 400°F.

Uncover and bake the bread for 22 to 30 minutes, until golden brown with an interior temperature of 190°F.

Remove the bread from the oven, let rest for 5 minutes then turn it out of the pan onto a baking rack to cool. Let the bread cool completely before slicing. It is best used for toast, or toasted for sandwiches. 

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