Easy English Muffin Bread {New and Improved}

This English muffin bread holds all the delight of soft, chewy English muffins but is so much easier to make! It is perfect for toasting!

English muffin bread makes the best bread for toasting! This new and improved recipe makes two loaves and includes a sourdough variation for more of that classic, tangy English muffin flavor.

Slice of English muffin bread on wood cutting board.

Dough Mixed By Hand

The dough for this easy English muffin bread is mixed by hand. No kneading. No stand mixer.

There is a high ratio of water to flour. That’s important so that the lovely little holes appear while rising and baking which result in the best nooks and crannies for toasting later.

It also means the dough is quite sticky. Don’t panic. Don’t run for the hills. Don’t abandon the recipe. Arm yourself with some cooking spray or olive oil to grease yo’ little hands, and you’ll be good to go.

Simple dough ingredients:

  • warm water
  • yeast (active dry or instant)
  • tiny bit of sugar
  • salt
  • all-purpose flour

Mix the dough until it comes together in a shaggy mass of a ball and no flour spots remain. No intense mixing or kneading. Just mix with gusto until it looks pretty cohesive.

Once the dough has risen, divide it into two pieces. Use lightly greased hands to get it into a semblance of a loaf shape (don’t stress, it’s going to look rustic) and plop it in a greased 8 1/2X 4 1/2-inch loaf pan.

Let it rise until delightfully and noticeably puffy (sigh, why is bread one of the few things that looks so cute puffy?). Then, bake until golden.

Sourdough Variation

The recipe, as written, produces slices of baked bread with all the wonderful texture of a classic English muffin. I’ve already said this, but I’ll repeat it at least 6 1/2 more times: this is the best bread for toasting. The end. Period.

However, if you want to add a bit of tang to mimic the flavor of English muffins, adding sourdough starter can do the trick!

Sourdough English Muffin Bread Variation:

For a simple sourdough variation (which helps add the characteristic tangy flavor of classic English muffins), decrease the water to 2 1/4 cups and the flour to 5 cups and add 1 1/2 cups fed or discard sourdough starter with the warm water, yeast and sugar. If using ripe and bubbly sourdough starter, you can decrease the yeast to 1 to 2 teaspoons. I haven’t tested this recipe omitting the yeast completely.

Two slices toasted bread.

Make-Ahead Tips

  • The mixed dough (regular or sourdough version) can be refrigerated for 24 to 48 hours before shaping into loaves and baking.
  • This process can also help develop a more pronounced, yeastier flavor.
  • If doing so, press greased or oiled plastic wrap directly to the surface of the dough and seal in a covered container to prevent dry spots forming on the top of the dough.
  • Take the dough out of the refrigerator 45 to 60 minutes before shaping into loaves and then let rise and bake as directed in the recipe.

While I will never not champion the benefits of toasting this English muffin bread (only 5 1/2 more mentions to go), it actually is tremendously delicious untoasted, too. Butter and jam barely optional.

It is insanely soft and squishy, and it inserts the best reminder into your life and mine that nothing, and I mean nothing, can beat a fresh loaf of bread for bringing instant happiness and good vibes.

Half slice toasted bread with raspberry jam.
Slice of English muffin bread on wood cutting board.

Easy English Muffin Bread

  • 3 cups (726 g) warm water, about 100-110 degrees F
  • 1 tablespoon instant or active dry yeast
  • 1 tablespoon granulated sugar
  • 1 tablespoon table salt
  • 5 ¾ cups (817 g) all-purpose flour

Prevent your screen from going dark

  • In a large bowl, add the water, yeast, and sugar. Let sit until the yeast is bubbly and foamy, 2 to 3 minutes.

  • Add the salt and two cups of the flour. Mix with a dough hook, spoon, or spatula until combined. Add the remaining flour and mix until the dough comes together in a shaggy ball and no dry streaks remain. You may want to ditch the stirring utensil, grease or lightly flour your hands, and mix by hand until it comes together. The dough will be quite sticky; that is normal.

  • Cover the bowl and let rise until the dough has doubled (it will be very puffy).

  • Lightly grease two 8 1/2 X 4 1/2-Inch loaf pans with cooking spray. Using greased hands, lightly punch down the dough and divide into two equal pieces.

  • Gather up one portion of dough in greased hands and quickly and lightly shape into a rough semblance of a loaf shape. Dump into one of the prepared pans. Repeat with the other half of dough. The loaves are meant to look a bit rough and rustic.

  • Cover the bread pans and let the loaves rise until the bread is 1/2 to 1-inch above the edge of the pan. Toward the end of rising time, preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.

  • Bake the bread for 25 to 30 minutes until golden on top and baked through. Remove from the oven and turn the loaves onto a wire rack to cool completely.

  • The bread is delicious toasted (or untoasted!) with butter and jam.

Sourdough Variation: for a simple sourdough variation (which helps add the characteristic tangy flavor of classic English muffins), decrease the water to 2 1/4 cups and the flour to 5 cups and add 1 1/2 cups fed or discard sourdough starter with the warm water, yeast and sugar. If using ripe and bubbly sourdough starter, you can decrease the yeast to 1 to 2 teaspoons. I haven’t tested this recipe omitting the yeast completely.
Make-Ahead: the mixed dough (regular or sourdough version) can be refrigerated for 24 to 48 hours before shaping into loaves and baking. If doing so, press greased or oiled plastic wrap directly to the surface of the dough and seal in a covered container to prevent dry spots forming on the top of the dough. Take the dough out of the refrigerator 45 to 60 minutes before shaping into loaves. 

Recipe Source: from Mel’s Kitchen Cafe, adapted from this old recipe to make two loaves instead of four and adjusting quantities of flour, yeast and water to produce a lighter, fluffier loaf

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