A Day at the Beach and English Muffin Loaves

Every year around this time, there is a huge, two day arts and crafts fair out on Siesta Key, which is just a few blocks and a small bridge away from me. It's affectionately called the Siesta Fiesta. All kinds of amazingly talented artists and craftsmen from all over the country congregate there, setting up booths to display their wares. Whatever you're into, be it jewellry, paintings, sculpture, pottery, or handmade furniture, you will find it at the Siesta Fiesta. I love to go and walk around, take in the fresh sea air and shop like mad! That's exactly what I did last Saturday.
The difference for me this year as opposed to past years, is that this time, I had a purpose. Now that I had my blog to think about, I was specifically looking for cool stuff that I could use for cooking as well as in my photographs. Unfortunately, I haven't yet won the lottery, so I couldn't buy everything I wanted to (and I wanted a lot!), but I did get some great stuff that I will be sharing with you, bit by bit, in the coming weeks.
My first find is the very thing that inspired me to make the recipe I've chosen for this post: English Muffin Loaves. Isn't is beautiful? It's a bread baking pot! This earthenware pot was crafted by Tom and Denise Chamberlain of Tom Chamberlain Pottery in Brooksville, Florida.
Tom started out as a potter thirty-five years ago after a stint as an art teacher. His wife, Denise enjoys cooking and baking and believes the whole purpose of pottery is for serving great food. Together, they create beautiful, and functional pieces that are equally at home in the oven or on display. All of their pottery is available for purchase on their website.

I had to find something special to make in my little bread pot. The first thing I thought of was my one of my favorite things in the world, No Knead bread. The problem with that was that I didn't have any dough in the fridge and I didn't want to have to wait a day for some to be ready. I wanted bread and I wanted it now! I remembered a recipe for an English muffin bread that I had seen months ago on Val's site over at More Than Burnt Toast. Val is one of my favorite bloggers and her recipes are always sure to please! I had made this bread before and loved it. It has a soft, fluffy and slightly chewy crumb, with just enough "nooks and crannies" to really suck in any topping put on it. Perfect!
Val's original recipe had grated cheddar cheese mixed into the dough. It also had a very short rising time, which meant I could be eating fresh, hot bread in just a few hours. I decide to leave the cheese out this time, because a) I wanted to be able to spread jam all over the warm bread; and b) because I didn't have any cheddar and it was raining outside.
I baked Val's bread in my cute little pot and it turned out beautifully. The top crust was, well.....crusty. The bread inside was divinely steamy and moist. I couldn't have asked for a better recipe to try out in my new find. Thanks, Val!
English Muffin Loaves
Adapted from Bellini Valli at More Than Burnt Toast
1 tbsp sugar
1/2 cup warm water (110 degrees F)
2 envelopes Fast Rising Active Dry Yeast
2 cups milk
2 tsp salt
6 cups all-purpose flour
1/4 tsp baking soda
Dissolve sugar in warm water. Add yeast and let stand 10 minutes then stir well.
Combine milk and salt in saucepan. Heat over low heat until lukewarm. Add milk mixture to dissolved yeast.
Add 3 cups flour combined with baking soda. Mix until smooth. Stir in enough of the remaining 3 cups of flour to make a stiff batter. Divide batter in half and press into two 8-1/2 x 4-1/2-inch loaf pans, that have been greased and sprinkled with cornmeal.
Sprinkle tops with cornmeal and cover.Let rise in a warm place 45 minutes or until centre of loaf is about 1-1/2-inches above edge of pan.
Bake at 400F for 25 minutes. Remove from pans and cool.
To serve, slice and toast. Spread with butter and your favorite jam.
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Gabi said…
Love your adaptation of Val's bread! She's another of my fav bloggers.
That is a beautiful bread pot. I may attempt to make one for myself one of these days when I can get back to the wheel.
Bread looks gorgeous! I love street fairs and even more when you find such a unique piece!
I have never tried English muffins, Susan, let alone English muffin loaves!
What a delicious treat - and I think you've purchased some lovely things!
Unknown said…
Manggy said…
Hah! I never really got "nooks and crannies" regarding English muffins till I went to the states. That looks very good esp. with the jam! And some nice breakfast meat :)

Can't wait to see more of your finds, Susan!
Gretchen Noelle said…
Haha! The Siesta Fiesta! Ha!!! The Nap Party! I love it!

Isn't it funny the things we look for now that we blog? English muffins seems to popping up everywhere. I feel like I should get the hint...
Anonymous said…
That's a lovely and unique pot! And all the more for the lovely crusty bread inside it.
test it comm said…
That English muffin loaf looks so good all smothered in jam.
Patsyk said…
I'm always looking for dishes and things that will photograph well! You really scored some great pieces!

Never occurred to me to make English Muffins/loaf at home. What a great idea!
ooooh, that would be yummy sliced up and topped w/eggs, cheese and bacon or ham.

Cute turtles.......I had a pet turtle once. Well, I should say that I confiscated a turtle from the side of a pond once. I tried to make him my pet...put him in a baby pool and fed him lettuce. He refused to eat so back to the pond he went. DAMN TURTLE!
Susan @ SGCC said…
Gabi- Thanks! I'm jealous! I have no artistic talent. If you do make a bread pot, I hope you'll post about it.

Aran- Thank you! I'm all over those craft shows. So much talent!

Patricia- You would really love this bread. It is very easy to throw together and it is great toasted.

Carmen- Thanks!

Manggy- The nooks and crannies are the best part! The butter and jam just soaks right in. The meat sounds pretty good too! ;)

Gretchen- Lol! I know what you mean. Every time I walk into a store, I'm always keeping an eye out for "props".

Susan- Thank you! I'm so glad you like the both! :)

Kevin- Hehehe - everything looks good smothered in jam!

Patsy- Thanks! I'm glad you like my loot.

Homemade English muffins are soooo much better than the store bought. You should give it a try. It's easy.

Obsessive- You go, Girl! A fried ham and egg sandwich would be awesome! Great idea!

Hahaha! We had quite a few pet turtles when my daughter was little. They are the most persnickety little suckers! They just don't do well in captivity. We had one that died from constipation! Can you effing believe that!
Helene said…
Love English muffins so you can imagine my surprise when I found whole loaves of it at the store!! Treasure found!! I can imagine the scent going through the house as you pulled this out of the oven!!
Your muffin loaf looks so perfect in your new pretty pot!
Peabody said…
Very interesting...english muffin bread...what a great idea.
RecipeGirl said…
Great pot! I'm still afraid of English muffins, but I might be keen on making a loaf!
Anonymous said…
This I am going to try asap. I miss English muffins but I always consoled myself with other things. No I can have my english muffin loaf and eat it too!!!!
Grazie, grazie, grazie.

Loooove the pottery, thanks for posting their website, I'm going there right now!
grace said…
some people would argue that adding the cheddar cheese shouldn't stop you from slathering the bread with jam. these are the same people who eat cheddar cheese on their apple pies, which i find to be a repulsive combination. am i alone here?

now that i've gotten that off my chest, cute pot and good-looking bread! :)
Anonymous said…
OhmagawdOhmagawdOhmagawd!!! Thank you for posting this! I have been craving English muffins for a couple of months now, and have been too lazy to make them. This is the perfect compromise! YAY! I think I sort of love you right now. :)
Cate said…
Love the new pot! The turtle pieces are so adorable. :)
That looks fantastic and I could go for some right about now to get me through that afternoon snack time *drool*
Sophie said…
I just discovered your blog. When I left a comment on someone else's post, the title of your blog caught my eye; I think it's really cute :). It's so cool that you're an artist/cook who used to be an attorney! In my little family, I'm the artist/cook and my husband is the one about to start law school in a few months. Anyhow, it's nice meeting you :).

These english muffins look yummy - I am a huge carb-lover. English muffins with jam are some of my favorite carby treats. Thanks for sharing :), great pics too btw.
First of all - yummy bread! But oh man, that pot! Oh, I am a pottery nut...and now I will be on the search for one like that. It's fabulous.
I am so glad you enjoy the English Muffin Loaf Susan!!!! My sister and I have been making this for years since we sent away for the recipe from Fleishmann's. It reminds me that since I have a day off I should make some tomorrow:D I'm with everyone else and love the pottery as well:D
Susan @ SGCC said…
Tartelette- I'm glad you like them! I must tell you that I think this bread is better than the muffins. It is so soft and pillowy! You really must try it.

Marie- Thank you! Glad you like them both! :)

Peabody- Thanks! Its a pretty foolproof recipe.

RecipeGirl- Go for it! You really can't mess this one up. Let me know if you do.

Joanne- You're very welcome! I hope it turns out great for you. Let me know!

Grace- Lol! I'm with you on that one. Then again, I'm not that into cheese (except brie).

Canary Girl- Hehehe! You are too cute! I'm glad you like the bread. Please let me know if you do make this and how you liked it.

Cate- Thanks! I was very impressed with all of that lovely pottery!

Mike- Lol! If you made some of this bread, you could bring some to work with you for snack time!

Sophie- Welcome! I'm so glad that you came by. It's very nice to meet you too! For better or for worse, I'm a huge carb lover too.
Glad you like the bread!

Cowgirl- I'm glad you like the bread and the pot! I'm a bit of a pottery nut too. Check out the artist's web site. They have tons of great stuff.

Val- Are you kidding? I love this recipe! I've made it several times, just never posted about it. It really is the best "white" bread. Thank you for sharing it!
Jescel said…
i love your finds at the crafts fairs.. nice! and the english muffin looks so yummy..

check out my latest post. it was inspired by one of your posts...

Jescel said…
This comment has been removed by the author.
I don't often miss bread but this could really do it! Beautiful pix too!
English muffin bread! How cool!
Barbara said…
I love those bread pots. I've never heard of English Muffin Bread but I'd like to try it.
LyB said…
That sounds like a great recipe and that bread baking pot is such a great find! I just love handmade things like that, I have a few cups and a teapot from a local artist but I wish I had more. You're making me wish there was an arts and crafts fair around here soon! :)
Susan @ SGCC said…
Jescel- Thanks! I did check out your post. It was great! I love your take on the picadillo.

SGF- Thank you! I'll bet you could bake other things in this pot too.

Jessy- Thanks! Glad you like it.

Barbara- Do try it. You'll be hooked!

lyB- I love to collect pottery pieces too. We get a lot of these kinds of shows here during tourist season. During the summer, it's pretty dull.
What a darling pot and what a great idea to have an English Muffin loaf! Now I have to go find a darling pot of my own so I can try it.
Nicole said…
I love it! I sounds wonderful. Now I will surely have to try it. I just happened on your site today for the first time. Great blog.
Cakelaw said…
I really dig your bread baking pot, and these English muffin loaves sound liker the perfect pick-me-up for any time of day.
Anonymous said…
Hi Susan! I made a loaf of this delicious bread this morning. Sooo goooood! Thanks so much for posting it. I will be making this again and again--it's SO much easier (and faster)than the actual muffins! Woot! :)
Susan @ SGCC said…
Lynn- Thank you! you can make the bread in a regular loaf pan, but the pot is much cuter!

Nicole- Welcome and thank you! I'm glad you found me! If you try the bread, let me know how it turns out.

Cakelaw- Thanks! I can't say enough how good this bread is. It's become one of my faves.

CanaryGirl- You are so welcome! I'm so glad you tried it! Even gladder that you loved it! :)
Arundathi said…
Hi - I'm dying to make this bread because I really miss English Muffins after moving back to India. We don't get cornmeal here, though. Would it be okay to leave that out?
Susan @ SGCC said…
Arundathi- The only reason for the cornmeal is to keep the bread from sticking to the pot. I don't see why you couldn't leave it out. If you are concerned about sticking, you might try a non-stick cooking spray or a sprinkling of flour in the pot before putting the dough in. Hope that helps.

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