How to Make English Bread

I first started learning how to make English bread by making English muffins. ENGLISH MUFFINS are three to four inch round flat buns with a texture known for its “nooks and crannies”. ENGLISH CRUMPETS are sometimes confused with the English muffin. Both are very similar being rolled and cooked on the griddle. The crumpets which I have eaten are much more moist; almost “wet” and they are not split like the muffins. Instead of splitting butter and jams are spread over the tops.

How to Make English BreadHow to Make English Bread

Learning how to make English bread led me to scones. SCONES are baked in the oven and are similar to our biscuits. Also like our biscuits, they are leavened usually with baking powder. However, like our biscuits sometimes we use baking soda. Scone recipes can be plain, savory or sweetened. Sometimes they have fruit, nuts and even chocolate chips included in them. Some of my very favorite English breads are all the recipes for hot cross buns. All I can say is that they have a touch of icing and are so delicious.


When I started baking SALLY LUNN BREAD I did not think about learning how to make English bread. This is just a good bread and I never knew anything more than that. In the 18th Century, Sally Lunn lived in Bath, located in southwest England. I have also seen a bread called “BATH”. I am not sure but it could be another name for Sally Lunn bread.


As I learned more about how to make English bread more bread names I learned to recognize are what they call LARDY CAKE and DRIPPING CAKE. As the name suggest the lardy cake is made with lard and the dripping is made with beef drippings. Again I am not sure but the famous and delicious Yorkshire pudding could be a dripping cake. 


Many of the English recipes like MILK BUNS, OATMEAL BREAD, WHOLE WHEAT and ICED ROLLS are so similar to our recipes. When I thought I was learning how to make English bread, sometimes I was actually making Irish recipes. Various fruit and nut breads, scones and cottage loaves are baked throughout Europe as well as England. Many of these have also become very common here in the United States. The big difference that I detect is that (It seems to me) our recipes are sweeter. If I make something which is less sweet, I consider it to be from England or Europe. It doesn’t matter to me where it originates. To put it simply, I love homemade breads.

ENGLISH MUFFINS

English MuffinsEnglish Muffins

When I learned how to make English bread this English muffin was my first recipe.

  • 1 Cup scalded milk
  • 3 Tablespoons butter
  • 1 ¼ Teaspoons salt
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • 1 Package dry yeast
  • ¼ Cup warm water (112F to 115F degrees)
  • 1 Beaten egg
  • 4 Cups sifted flour
  • About ¼ cup cornmeal

Add the butter, salt and sugar to the scalded milk.

Stir until butter melts and sugar dissolves.

Set aside and cool to 112F-115F degrees.

Dissolve yeast in warm water; let set 5 minutes.

In large bowl combine milk mixture, yeast, egg and 2 cups flour.

Mix until blended; add enough of the flour to make a soft dough.

Turn out onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic.

Place dough in a greased bowl; cover with plastic wrap and towel.

Let rise until doubled in bulk about 1 hour; punch down.

Turn out onto floured surface and roll to ¼ inch thickness.

Cut in 4 inch rounds (I use a crumpet shaper to cut or use a large lid.)

Sprinkle baking tray lightly with cornmeal; place rounds on top.

Sprinkle tops with a little cornmeal; let rise 1 hour to double.

Place muffins on hot griddle; bake 7-9 minutes on each side.

Set off to cool; makes 12.

English Muffins on GriddleEnglish Muffins on Griddle

OATMEAL BREAD

Oatmeal BreadOatmeal Bread
Fresh Oatmeal BreadFresh Oatmeal Bread

Oatmeal is a common ingredient when learning how to make English bread.

  • 2 Cups boiling water
  • 1 Cup oatmeal (Not cooked)
  • 2 Packages dry yeast
  • 1/3 Cup warm water (115F to 120F degrees)
  • 1 Tablespoon salt
  • ½ Cup honey
  • 2 Tablespoons melted butter (Cooled)
  • 2 ½ to 3 Cups flour
  • 1 ½ to 2 Cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • 1 Teaspoon water
  • Sesame seeds

Pour boiling water over oats; let stand until thoroughly soaked.

Let oats set until cooled to lukewarm.

Dissolve yeast in the warm water; add salt, honey and butter.

Add yeast mixture to cooled oats; mix well.

Gradually add the flour; knead with hands until dough is smooth and elastic.

Put dough into a lightly oiled bowl turning to coat all sides.

Cover bowl with plastic wrap and cloth; let rise 1 hour until doubled in bulk.

Punch dough down and divide in half; shape into loaves and place in oiled loaf pans.

Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 350F degrees.

Beat the egg yolk with 1 teaspoon water; brush loaves and sprinkle with sesame seeds.

Bake 35 to 40 minutes.


COTTAGE STYLE ONION LOAF

English Cottage Style Onion LoafEnglish Cottage Style Onion Loaf
English Cottage Style Onion LoafEnglish Cottage Style Onion Loaf

If learning how to make English bread you will come across many different cottage loaf recipes.

  • ¾ Cup scalded milk
  • 1 Envelope onion soup mix
  • ½ Cup sugar
  • ½ Cup softened butter
  • 2 Packages dry yeast
  • ½ Cup warm water (115F to 120F degrees)
  • 1 Beaten egg
  • 4 Cups flour

Stir onion mix into scalded milk blending well.

Stir in sugar and butter mixing until butter melts; COOL TO WARM.

Sprinkle yeast over the warm water; stir to dissolve.

Add the warm milk mixture, egg and HALF of the flour to yeast mixture.

Beat mixture until smooth; add remaining flour to make a stiff batter.

Cover tightly and chill at least 2 hours.

Divide the dough in half; press evenly into 2 (1 ½ quart) greased casserole dishes.

Cover and let rise until doubled in bulk.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375F degrees.

Bake about 35 minutes until bread sounds hollow when tapped.

Remove from dishes and cool on racks; brush with melted butter.

Makes 2 loaves.


HOW TO MAKE ENGLISH BREAD: CRUMPETS

If you are learning how to make English bread you will certainly want to try crumpets.

  • 3 Cups flour
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons yeast
  • 1 ¾ Cups warm water (115F to 120F degrees)
  • ½ Teaspoon baking soda
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • ¾ Cup warm milk (About 115F degrees)

Combine and mix together the flour, yeast and warm water.

Oil plastic wrap and cover bowl; let rise 1 hour until light and frothy.

Add baking soda and salt to the warm milk; stir into the flour batter.

NOTE: If needed add a little more milk to make batter runny.

Cover again with the plastic and set until frothy 30 to 60 minutes.

Grease muffin rings and place on hot griddle.

Spoon 2 tablespoons of batter into each ring.

Cook gently about 10 minutes or until well set and bubbles burst.

Remove the rings ant turn them over; cook 2-3 minutes.

NOTE: Crumpets should be a light golden color and dried.

NOTE: If you do not have rings cut both sides from tuna cans, wash, oil and use them.

TO SERVE toast and serve with butter and jam.


PLAIN SCONES

When learning how to make English bread, scones are a basic usually made with baking powder as leavening.

  • 2 Cups flour
  • 1 Tablespoon baking powder
  • Pinch salt
  • ¼ Cup butter
  • 2 Tablespoons sugar
  • ¾ Cup milk
  • Milk for glazing

Preheat oven to 450F degrees.

Sift together flour, baking powder and salt in large mixing bowl.

Cut in butter until mixture is crumbly; add sugar and milk mixing to soft dough.

NOTE: Add a little more milk if necessary.

Rough dough out on lightly floured board to ½ inch thickness.

Cut with a lightly floured round biscuit cutter place on lightly floured baking tray.

Brush scones lightly with milk; bake 10 minutes.

Wrap scones in clean dish towel until ready to serve; makes 8.


TRADITIONAL HOT CROSS BUNS

You will love hot cross buns if you are learning how to make English bread.

  • 2 Packages dry yeast
  • 2 Cups warm milk (112F to 115F degrees)
  • 1/3 Cup softened butter
  • 2 Beaten eggs
  • ¼ Cup sugar
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons salt
  • 6 to 7 Cups flour
  • ½ Cup raisins
  • ½ Cup dried currants
  • 1 Teaspoon cinnamon
  • ¼ Teaspoon allspice
  • 2 Tablespoons water
  • 1 Egg yolk
  • Powdered sugar icing

In large mixing bowl dissolve yeast in the warm milk.

Stir in butter, eggs, sugar and salt.

Combine 3 CUPS flour, raisins, currants, cinnamon and allspice.

Add flour mixture to the yeast mixture and mix well.

Stir in enough of the remaining flour to form a soft dough.

Turn dough out onto a floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic.

Place dough in a greased bowl turning to coat all sides.

Cover and let rise in a warm place until doubled in bulk about 1 hour.

Punch dough down; shape into 1 ½ -2 inch balls.

Place balls 2 inches apart on greased baking sheets.

Using a sharp knife cut a cross on the top of each roll.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375F degrees.

Cover and let rise until doubled about 30 minutes.

Beat together the water and egg yolk; brush over rolls.

Bake for 15 to 20 minutes until golden brown.

Cool on wire rack; pipe icing over the rolls making a cross.


SAFFRON BREAD RECIPE

When learning how to make English bread you will find many recipes include saffron.

  • 1 Package dry yeast
  • 1/3 Cup warm water (112F to 115F degrees)
  • 4 Cups flour
  • 1 ½ Teaspoons salt
  • ½ Cup milk
  • ½ Teaspoon saffron (Powder or crumbled)
  • 2 Beaten eggs

Dissolve the yeast in the warm water; set for 5 minutes.

Combine flour and salt in a large bowl and make a well; set aside.

Combine milk and saffron in a small saucepan.

Heat milk slowly until reaching a boiling point.

Remove pan from heat; cool to 110F degrees.

Stir cooled milk into beaten eggs; pour into well in flour mixture.

Stir vigorously to blend into a dough (Add more milk or water if needed).

Turn out onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic.

Place dough in oiled bowl turning to coat; cover with plastic wrap and towel.

Place in warm place and let rise about 1 ½ hours until doubled in size.

Punch dough down; turn out and knead another 5 minutes.

Shape into a loaf and place in greased loaf pan; cover with cloth.

Let rise in warm place until doubled about 45 minutes.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375F degrees.

Bake about 35 minutes until loaf sounds hollow when tapped.


SALLY LUNN BREAD

Sally Lunn is a famous name when learning how to make English bread.

  • ½ Cup warm light cream (112F to 115F degrees)
  • 1 Tablespoon superfine sugar
  • 5 Tablespoons softened butter
  • 1 Package dry yeast
  • 1 ½ Cups sifted flour (Divided)
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 2 Beaten egg yolks
  • 1 Tablespoon warm light cream

Stir sugar and butter into warmed milk stirring to melt butter.

Stir yeast and ½ CUP of the flour into milk mixture.

Let set in warm place for 10 to 13 minutes.

Work in salt, egg yolks and remaining 1 CUP flour to a soft dough.

Place in warm place to rise until twice the original size.

Knead on lightly floured surface until smooth and elastic.

Place dough in a baking pan 9 6 inches round 3 inches deep).

Let rise in warm place until doubled in bulk; brush with warmed cream

PREHEAT OVEN TO 450F degrees.

Bake 15 minutes until golden brown; cool on rack


BRENTFORD ROLLS

IF LEARNING HOW TO MAKE English bread Brentford rolls were famous in London during the 1800’s.

  • 8 Cups flour
  • 2 Packages dry yeast
  • 2 ½ Cups warm water (112F to 115F degrees) (Divided)
  • ¼ Cup superfine sugar (Divided)
  • 2 Teaspoons salt
  • ½ Cup softened butter
  • 2 Beaten eggs

Combine yeast and 1 TEASPOON of the sugar with ½ CUP of the warm milk.

Sift the flour, salt and remaining SUGAR into a bowl; work in butter with fingers.

Add the eggs, yeast mixture and remaining MILK into flour mixture; Mix well.

Turn dough onto lightly floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic.

Cover and set in warm place to rise until doubled about 1 hour.

Divide dough into 12 parts; roll into balls and place onto buttered baking pan.

Cover and set in warm place to rise until doubled about 30 minutes 

PREHEAT OVEN TO 400F degrees.

Bake about 30 minutes until golden brown.


SPECKLED BREAD or Bara Brith Bread

This is a popular Welsh tea fruit bread if you are learning how to make English bread.

  • 2 ¼ to 2 ¾ Cups flour (Divided)
  • 1 Package dry yeast
  • ¼ Teaspoon cinnamon
  • 1/8 Teaspoon nutmeg
  • 1/8 Teaspoon cloves
  • 2/3 Cup buttermilk
  • ¼ Cup brown sugar
  • ¼ Cup butter
  • ½ Teaspoon salt
  • 1 Egg
  • 2/3 Cup dried currants or raisins

Combine 1 ¼ CUPS of the flour, yeast, cinnamon, nutmeg and cloves in large bowl.

In saucepan combine buttermilk, brown sugar, butter and salt.

Heat and stir mixture until thermometer reaches 115F to 120F degrees.

NOTE: Butter does not have to be completely melted.

Add buttermilk mixture to the flour mixture; add egg.

Beat on low speed of mixer for about 30 seconds; beat 3 minutes on high.

Stir in the currants and as much of the flour as possible mixing with a spoon.

Turn out onto floured surface; knead until smooth and elastic; shape into ball.

Place dough in greased bowl turning to coat; cover and rise until double about 1 ¼ hours.

Punch down and shape into loaf; place in greased loaf pan (8X4X2 inches).

Cover and let rise until doubled about 30 minutes.

PREHEAT OVEN TO 375f DEGREES.

Bake about 35 to 40 minutes.

NOTE: Cover with foil last 20 minutes to prevent over-browning.

Remove from pan and cool; makes 1 loaf.

› English Breads

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