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English Muffin Bread

Probably the best toasting bread out there. There is yeast in this recipe but it's the trace amount of baking soda which gives this bread its signature air-holes.

5 to 5-1/2 cups flour
2 packages active dry yeast
1 tablespoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon baking soda
2 teaspoons salt

2 cups whole milk
1/2 cup water

Grease two loaf pans and sprinkle generously with cornmeal. Tap upside down on sink faucet to release loose cornmeal.

Heat milk and water in heavy saucepan over low heat until very warm, about 120-130 degrees. Meanwhile using a whisk, blend 3 cups of flour in a large bowl with the yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda.

Gradually whisk in the hot milk & water and beat batter well. Switch to a wooden spoon or sturdy spatula and add the remaining flour, one cup at a time. Turn (batter-y) dough out onto floured counter and knead for a few minutes. The dough will most likely be a sticky one.

Divide dough in half and into the two prepared loaf pans. Use your fingers to push dough to cover bottom and fill edges of pans. Cover with greased plastic wrap [or dough may stick to it] and let rise in warm spot for 45 minutes.

Midway through the rise, start preheating the oven to 400. Bake loafs for 25 minutes. Remove from pans immediately onto cooling racks and cool completely.

[I often take these loaves to a small neighborhood grocer up the street and ask them to slice them for me in their machine. This totally makes them seem more "professional" and I can get more slices out of each loaf.]

Toast slices and serve with soft butter and honey.

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