…but wouldn’t you like to try doing so? Bagels, bialys, biscuits, brioche, buns; challah, ciabatta, crumpets; focaccia, frybread; lavash, lefse; panettone, proja; scones, sopaipillas, sourdough…why, oh why, do carbs have to be so comforting and delicious? Naan…mmm…naan.
And homemade tortillas, so warm and soft, you just want to cover your face with them and just absorb that carby goodness right through your pores…
You can probably tell that skipping the bread at restaurants is not exactly easy for me.
Baking breads at home can sometimes be challenging, since your home kitchen is more subject to the whims of weather, altitude, and your mood. Professional bakeries usually put out consistent products, but your favorite bread recipe can sometimes betray you by not rising much at all or popping out of the pan too much, like some yeasty lava flow. I’ve found that mutant bread is usually still quite edible, so as long as it isn’t moist and doughy inside. You can chalk it up to the capricious yeast gods, slice it up, and slather some butter and jam all over it. That’s better.
This particular bread lends itself to anything you might want to put on it—meats, cheeses, butters, jams, honey. It is freshly tender when you first bake it, but the next day, I like to toast it till it’s golden brown. It sort of resembles an English muffin when you do this—I’ve got some orange marmalade rocking on the slice below.
Toasty Muffin Bread
- ¾ cup buttermilk
- ¾ cup water
- 3¼ cups all-purpose flour
- 1 tablespoon sugar
- 1 envelope active dry yeast
- 1¼ teaspoons salt
- ¼ teaspoon baking soda
- 1½ tablespoons cornmeal
Combine the buttermilk and water in a 2-cup glass measure. Microwave on high for 1 minute; let stand.
Combine 2¼ cups flour, sugar, yeast, salt, and soda in a large bowl (preferably a stand mixer). Add the buttermilk mixture and mix on a low speed until combined well. Add the final 1 cup flour and mix on low speed for a couple of minutes. Coat a 4½” by 8½” glass loaf pan with cooking spray. Sprinkle 1 tablespoon cornmeal in pan and shake pan to distribute on bottom and up the sides. Press dough into the pan—flour your fingers to assist with pressing it down. Sprinkle the remaining cornmeal all over the top. Cover with a towel and let rise in a draft-free place for 45 minutes.
Preheat oven to 400°. Bake 30 minutes. Let stand on a rack for 10 minutes. Remove from pan and cool on rack for 30 minutes before cutting. Cover and store at room temperature.