This recipe for English Country Bread comes from my Aunt Ann, who was a superb baker. Today is her birthday and I thought I’d honor her memory by submitting this “receipt”, as she used to joke.
It makes terrific toast and is incredibly easy to prepare. People either love this recipe or hate it. I think more serious bakers have questions about developing the gluten properly. All I know is that is is remarkable simple to make and tastes yummy.
Yields 1 loaf
- 1 package dry yeast
- 1 teaspoon white sugar
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 3 cups unsifted, unbleached all purpose flour
- 3/4 cups boiling water
- 1/2 cup cold skim milk
1. Stir dry ingredients together and set aside. Add boiling water to cold milk in a large bowl. Add half the flour mixture and beat well by hand. Stir in the rest of the flour mixture. You will have a stiff batter.
2. Turned the batter into a greased loaf pan. Cover with a clean towel and allow to raise in a warm place for 45 minutes. Preheat oven to 400 degrees.
3. Bake, uncovered, for 25 minutes. Remove from pan and allow to cool. Makes about 20 thin slices.
Food 52: Editors’ Pick
Response from Amanda and Merrill of Food 52, posted by Stephanie: “This recipe is amazingly simple — it’s quite possibly the easiest bread I’ve ever made. Putting the bread dough together takes only 5 minutes. By combining boiling water and cold milk, Lizthechef creates an ideal temperature for the yeast to get to work and the dough rises in less than an hour. The recipe is so fast that I even made it twice to test the difference between active dry yeast and instant dry yeast. I preferred the results with instant, but the active also worked. The bread only takes 25 minutes to bake, but that’s plenty of time to fill the house with the wonderful aroma of baking bread. I’d recommend the recipe as an easy way to bake bread when you are short on time. You could whip it up in the morning and have it warm with a little butter and jam for breakfast.”
I tried this recipe yesterday in preparation for making cheese-on-toast for a Superbowl party this weekend (I just came back from a girls’ trip to London and we’re making UK-themed snacks for the big game).
The bread came out perfectly (almost) – the only thing that didn’t work for me was due to my one deviation from your recipe: during the proofing, I covered the pan with plastic wrap instead of a towel. No big deal, but when I took the wrap off, the top layer of the risen bread came right with it, leaving me with a flat loaf. HOWEVER, it was the easiest and best flat loaf I’ve ever made! The flavor was excellent and the texture was perfect. I LOVED the crunchy crust and craggy crumb!
I did a test run of the cheese-on-toast for my mom and sister today (I also come from a family of inspiring cooks) and it was a hit! I cut thin slices, toasted each side, spread on a thin layer of butter, topped with thin slices of aged cheddar, then popped under the broiler until melty. Yummy! Thanks to you and your Aunt Ann for this recipe that’s sure to become a family favorite of ours 🙂
I’m so happy it worked for you, Stacy. People either rave about it or don’t like it, saying the gluten isn’t developed enough. All I know is that it is easy and tastes good. Thanks.