Hey all -
I just made a quick update to the Sourdough English Muffin bread recipe I sent out this morning. Early on in testing, I noticed that once in awhile the baking soda did not get mixed into the dough evenly, resulting in brown patches in the baked loaf. I thought that instructions to stir the flour, salt, and baking soda together would do the trick, but for some reason it’s not always sufficient. (Reader Susan H—thank you!— had the same result in hers, so clearly it’s not quite enough.)
Other versions of this recipe—James Beard’s included—have you first dissolve the baking soda in water to better distribute it in the dough, so mine now does too.
I’m sending the updated recipe to you here so you have it in your inboxes, but if you want to comment, please do so on the original post to avoid confusion. (It’s been updated there as well.)
Sorry about that!
Sourdough English Muffin Bread
Makes one 800g 9x5-inch loaf
This recipe can be made with sourdough discard or freshly-made levain, or a combination of the two. If using levain, keep in mind the recipe below makes—as all recipes should—slightly more than you’ll need in step 2; save the excess for the next batch. Because it uses a high ratio of sourdough, you’ll need to warm the milk accordingly to get the dough to 78˚F, particularly when using cold sourdough discard, using this formula. If you don’t have milk on hand, you can also use water instead, along with 30g (1/4 cup) dry milk powder.
Bread flour 100%
Baking soda 1%
(Prefermented flour 50%)
Levain Build (if needed)
170g bread or high-protein all-purpose flour
200g bread flour
6g sugar (1 teaspoon)
8g salt (1-1/4 teaspoons)
400g 100% hydration levain (from above) or sourdough discard
4g baking soda (1/2 teaspoon), dissolved in 2 teaspoons water
LEVAIN BUILD (if needed): Stir flour, water, and starter until uniform and proof at 78˚F until at least doubled in volume, 4 to 8 hours.
MUFFIN BREAD: Desired dough temperature: 78˚F.
Grease 9- by 5-inch loaf pan and dust liberally with cornmeal. Whisk flour, sugar, and salt in bowl until evenly combined. Add milk, levain, and baking soda solution, and stir until fully combined. Cover and let rise at 78˚F until dough is bubbly and has about doubled in volume, 60 to 90 minutes.
Stir dough and pour into loaf pan. Cover pan loosely and set aside. Adjust oven rack to middle position and heat oven to 375 degrees.
When oven is at temperature, dust top of loaf liberally with cornmeal and transfer pan to oven. Bake until bread is risen, golden-brown on top, and registers at least 200˚F at center, 35 to 40 minutes. Transfer pan to rack and allow to cool for 5 minutes. Remove loaf from pan and return to rack. Let cool at least 1 hour before slicing.