Homemade English Muffin bread is the BEST bread recipe for beginner bakers. It’s the closest thing you will find to a dump and bake recipe for yeast bread. It takes about 15 minutes of active time, requires no kneading and only one rise. With a golden crust and chewy texture this bread is tasty on its own, but makes a fantastic toasting bread. Read on for my tips and tricks, then dig out your stand mixer and roll up your sleeves. It’s time for homemade English muffin bread.
Originally appearing on the blog in November 2015, the recipe was last updated for clarity, simplification, and to correct errors in May 2019.
I love the smell of freshly baked bread. The warm, yeasty aroma makes my mouth water as I think of melting butter seeping into the all the toasty little bits of chewy goodness. If you are drooling now, that’s okay, me too.
When it comes to homemade bread, this English muffin bread is hands down my favorite. It’s simple to make and doesn’t need a lot of active attention. The results are a chewy bread that resembles the inside of an English muffin and is perfect for toasting.
It’s great for eggs benedict, a breakfast sandwich, or avocado toast with a fried egg on top. You could also go the simple route and have it toasted with apple butter. If you’ve never worked with yeast dough before, or maybe you are scared to try, this recipe is for you.
Making English Muffin Bread
When I called this English muffin bread easy, I was not exaggerating. Like most homemade bread, it only has five ingredients: flour, water, sugar, salt, and yeast. The dough is heavy and very sticky, but kneading is not required. While you can make it by hand, I’ll warn you that it’s quite the upper body workout. It’s much easier to manage with a stand mixer.
Baking with yeast.
Most beginner bakers are familiar with flour, water, salt, and sugar, but yeast can be intimidating. In my kitchen, instant yeast is the kind I keep on hand and use for recipe development. It’s also the type I recommend for this recipe.
What is yeast?
Simplified, yeast is a living micro-organism that eats sugars to create carbon dioxide. Carbon dioxide formed by baking yeast creates gas bubbles in the dough which cause the bread to rise. So, when a bread recipe calls for a little bit of sugar it’s not just for added sweetness, it’s also there to feed the yeast.
To get your baking yeast working, we proof it in water that is between 105º and 110ºF. Yeast does it’s best job of multiplying around 95ºF, but this increased temperature for proofing allows us to jump start the yeast. The instructions on the jar call for it to be combined with water that has been heated to between 120º and 130º F, but this is to compensate for yeast that is mixed directly with other room temperature ingredients. Since we are proofing it first, use water that is a little cooler.
There are two main types of bread yeast, active yeast and instant yeast. Active yeast has slightly larger pieces and MUST be proofed in order to do its job. Instant yeast, also called rapid rise or bread machine yeast, CAN BE added directly into the dough without proofing.
Proofing the yeast.
To proof the yeast, combine the warm water, yeast, and sugar in a small bowl and allow it to sit 5 – 10 minutes. The yeast should start to foam up, letting you know that it is in fact alive and ready to go to work. If it doesn’t, you’ll need to go buy fresh yeast and start again. Things like storing the yeast at the wrong temperature or using it past its expiration date may cause it to fail to perform.
Again, you MUST proof active yeast, but it’s not 100% necessary to proof instant yeast. However, if there is the slightest chance of your yeast not being good, letting it sit for 5 minutes or so can save you a lot of time and trouble. Personally, I have had yeast fail to work and sabotage my dinner plans, so I almost always proof the yeast before adding it to the rest of my dough.
The extra five minutes is a non-issue if you start it first. The time it takes to prepare your pans and other ingredients should be enough time for the yeast to activate.
Preparing your bread pans.
You will need two 9×5 loaf pans for this recipe. Liberally grease both pans with oil or butter. Can you use cooking spray? Sure, but I don’t think it does the job nearly as well and it can be a pain to scrub off. (It can also void the warranty on your pans, but that’s a whole other conversation.)
My go to for this recipe is butter, because the flavor works well with a breakfast bread and the semi-solid state makes it coat better than a liquid oil. The next best thing is coconut oil.
Using a nonstick pan? So am I. Oil the pan or the bread will stick. With nonstick pans it’s even more important not to use a liquid oil, as it will bead up instead of coating the pan. Again, butter or coconut oil work best.
Making the bread dough.
Now comes the fun part! Combine the water, sugar, and activated yeast with your flour and salt mixture. Using the dough hook attachment, mix on low 2 – 3 minutes. Scrape down the sides and mix 2 – 3 minutes more.
The dough will be heavy and sticky. Divided into your two loaf pans, it should fill them just over half way. A silicone spatula really helps with this step. Let it rise 1 – 3 hours, or until it’s doubles in size, then bake according to the recipe instructions. It’s really that easy.
Tips for getting your bread dough to rise.
Bread needs to be in a warm spot to rise. Once mixed into a dough, yeast does it’s best work at human body temperature, aka 98.6ºF. No, your room doesn’t have to be that warm for the action to happen. In a cooler room it will take longer for the yeast to do its job. To help your bread rise, try some of these tips.
- Place it in a sunny window, on top of an oven that is turned on, or on top of or beside the refrigerator.
- To create extra heat on a cold day, you can sit the pans on top of a heating pad turned to low/warm or wrap them in an electric blanket on a low setting.
- Some newer, fancier ovens have the option of a proofing setting, which will heat your oven to very low temperature to speed up the process.
- You can turn your standard oven into a proofing box with these handy tips from Cooks Illustrated.
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English Muffin Bread Recipe
Homemade English muffin bread is the easiest yeast bread recipe for beginning bakers. It’s simple to make, comes together quickly, requires no kneading, and only needs one rise in the baking pans. Try yours topped with grapefruit blood orange curd, small batch blueberry jam, or orange honey butter. As a more seasoned baker, you’ll return to it time and time again for breakfast staples like bacon and egg sandwiches, eggs benedict, and avocado toast.
When you are ready for something a little more advanced, try your hand at making Homemade Pita Bread, a staple for stuffed pita sandwiches and Girls Night Chicken Shawarma. For more bread options, check out all my bread recipes.
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- 2 3/4 cup of warm water
- 1 TBSP instant yeast*
- 1 1/2 TBSP sugar
- 5 1/2 cups flour
- 1 TBSP salt
- Add water heated to between 105 - 110º F, yeast, and sugar into a small mixing bowl or 4 cup measuring cup and allow to bloom, approximately 5 - 10 minutes.
- In the bowl of your stand mixer measure out the flour and salt, then stir to combine.
- Grease two 9x5 loaf pans with butter or coconut oil.
- The yeast, sugar, water mixture should be frothy by this point.** If so, add it into the flour mixture.
- Using the dough hook with the mixer on low, mix for 2 - 3 minutes. Stop to scrape down the sides of the mixing bowl then mix an additional 2 - 3 minutes. The dough will be lumpy and VERY sticky.
- Divide equally into your loaf pans. Sit in a warm spot, cover with a tea towel and allow to rise for 1 - 3 hours or until doubled in size.
- Once risen, preheat the oven to 350ºF. Be careful not to bump or drop the pans, as this can cause the dough to fall.
- Gently place the bread in the oven and bake for 35 - 45 minutes. Tops will be golden brown and the bread will pull away from the edges of the pan.
- Allow to cool 5 - 10 minutes, then turn the bread loaves out onto a cooling rack to cool completely.
*Most packets of yeast contain 2 1/4 teaspoons of yeast. 1 tablespoon = 3 teaspoons, so if you are using the packets you will need one packet plus 3/4 teaspoon of yeast. Read the packet information to verify the quantity.
**If the yeast does not foam up, discard it and start again with new yeast.
Nutrition Information:Yield: 30 slices Serving Size: 1 slice
Amount Per Serving: Calories: 87 Total Fat: 0g Saturated Fat: 0g Trans Fat: 0g Unsaturated Fat: 0g Cholesterol: 0mg Sodium: 234mg Carbohydrates: 18g Fiber: 1g Sugar: 1g Protein: 3g