My mom called the other day and told me about a book that had just been profiled on NPR. The author had tried to make all kinds of things homemade. At the end of their adventure, they discovered that some things were best to make at home, and others just weren't worth it at all.
The book was called Make the Bread, Buy the Butter: What You Should and Shouldn't Make From Scratch. Jennifer Rease looked at ease of preparation, cost and general quality to determine which foods she should make and which foods she should buy. She recommends making your own guacamole and yogurt and buying your hamburger buns and potato chips.
I think the homemade Lucky Charms that Stephanie at the Cupcake Project made are an excellent example of this. She warns that you'll end up spending days making the Lucky Charms and get blisters all over your fingers.
No thank you.
Instead, I've been trying to figure out what foods I'm only going to eat if I make them myself (or order them at a restaurant). Take ice cream, for instance. I have an ice cream maker. I have The Perfect Scoop. Homemade ice cream is incredible. I should really never buy store-bought ice cream.
It's bread where I'm really stuck. I've got Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice, but I still can't keep a sourdough starter alive to save my life (I just forget to feed it). I make a lot of quick breads but not that many super healthy ones
This bread is an attempt to do that. It's an English muffin bread, and it is remarkably similar to an English muffin, with quite a few less holes. It keeps at room temperature for a week; for any longer, it freezes beautifully. Toasted with a bit of butter and salt it's absolutely delicious.
Best of all, it comes together quickly. Definitely important if I want to make bread making part of my regular routine.
What are the foods you always make? What do you only eat if it's homemade?
English Muffin Bread
recipe adapted very slightly from Foodie With Family
This recipe yields two loaves of bread. I kept one loaf at room temperature for a week, and I froze the other loaf almost immediately.
2 3/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon kosher salt
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/2 teaspoons sugar
1 tablespoon plus 1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
5 3/4 cup bread flour or all-purpose flour (I used a combination of both because that's all I had
4 tablespoons butter, melted
In a large bowl, combine flour, sugar and salt. Stir well, then add instant yeast and warm water. Stir all the ingredients together by hand until the mixture is combined.
Cover the bowl with plastic wrap. Let the dough sit for an hour until bubbly and puffy.
Butter two standard loaf pans. Pour a little coarse cornmeal into each pan, covering the sides of each pan with cornmeal.
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.
Divide the dough evenly between the two pans. Cover each pan loosely with plastic wrap. Allow the loaves to rise for about an hour, until they have doubled in size and the top of the dough rises over the pan.
Place the loaves in the oven for 30 minutes. After 30 minutes, pull out the loaves one at a time and cover them generously with melted butter. Return the loaves to the oven and continue baking for 7 to 12 minutes more, until they are golden brown.
Remove the loaves from the oven. Immediately flip them out of the pan onto a wire rack and pour more melted butter over the top.
Allow the bread to cool completely before slicing. Serve toasted, with more butter and jam.