Sunday, September 16, 2007

English Muffin Bread and Condiments

I like to put a loaf of English Muffin Bread in the bread machine before bed; the smell of fresh bread just finishing up does actually help me to drag my lazy bones out of bed. This is the only bread I actually make from start to finish in the bread machine; it has a nice thick crust and a chewy consistency, and a flavor which puts Thomas' to shame. I found it years ago in Donna Rathmell German's bread machine cookbook (I hope I have her name right; it was a paperback cookbook and fell apart, leaving me to keep just the few recipes I really liked). As she noted in that cookbook, the top of this loaf will be slightly sunken. This is adapted from her cookbook to suit my 2 pound bread machine (it's often not enough for my crowd, not surprisingly). I serve it with Lemon Curd and homemade Peach Jam.


1-1/2 cups water
3 tsp yeast
4 cups flour
2-1/2 tsp sugar
1-1/4 tsp salt
1/4 tsp baking soda
4 tbsp powdered milk.

Keep the yeast separate from the water if setting on the delayed timer; otherwise, add all ingredients and let it go. For the super rapid cycle, double the yeast.

I'm sure this could be done in 2 conventional loaf pans, but, like I said, I've never tried it, since I want it ready when I stumble downstairs for my hot tea.

With my English Muffin Bread, I love Lemon Curd. This is (reputedly) an English staple used with scones (although, having never been there, I'm not certain). I found this recipe at least 20 years ago in a newspaper. It is very easy, and fabulous. Note that I use unsalted butter (as I do with everything), but salted would also work.


3 eggs
1 cup sugar
1 tbsp grated lemon rind
6 tbsp lemon juice (about 2 lemons' worth)
6 tbsp butter

In the top section of a double boiler, combine everything except the butter. Put over the boiling water, and stir nearly constantly for about 10 minutes, until the mixture is nearly boiling and thickens somewhat. There will be a light foam on top of the mixture. Don't let it boil or the eggs will scramble. When it's thickened, remove from the heat, whisk in the butter, cut into chunks, pour into jars or plastic containers, let cool and refrigerate. Makes about 2 cups; will keep for at least 2 months (mine has rarely stayed around for that long). It is a beautiful yellow color, as seen above with my Peach Jam and English Muffin Bread.


1 pound frozen peaches, thawed and drained, or 3 to 4 fresh peaches, peeled & pitted
3/4 cup sugar
1 tsp lemon juice
1 box pectin

Yes, this seems much more impressive than it actually is. Chop the peaches pretty well, using the food processor. Small chunks are fine. Put the peach mush in the bread maker, pour the sugar & lemon juice on top, and let sit for 1/2 hour so the sugar will start to dissolve. Add the pectin, set the bread machine on the jam setting, turn it on and let it run. In 1 hour and 10 minutes you'll have jam. Even with crummy frozen peaches, the flavor is unbelievable (my 75 year old peach tree was killed last winter by the fool deer, and I can't bear the loss of it, because the fruit you can find nowadays has nowhere near the flavor of the old trees' fruit). I'm sure you can do this on the stove, stirring every few mintues, over medium low heat. I'm just too lazy to try.

My husband and daughter disagreed with my characterization of Lemon Curd and jam as "condiments" earlier. Webster's unabridged defines a condiment as something which adds relish to foods, so I think it qualifies...

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