Sunday, June 7, 2009

English Muffins

I really like English Muffins. For toasting at breakfast, they are better than bread. English Muffins have a delightful, crispy exterior. When pulled open with a large fork, the interior has those groovy craters that hold butter and jam.

Often I've thought about making English Muffins, but have been held back by the procedure called for in various recipes. In some, the muffins are cooked in a cast iron skillet or on a griddle, but this sounds a bit too labor-intensive (cook a batch, keep warm, cook more, repeat). Recipes also often call for use of an English Muffin ring to hold the shape of the bread as it is cooking in the pan. I don't have such rings, and its not something I'm looking to buy.

This morning, however, I found an adaptation of a recipe at All Recipes that doesn't require either special equipment or messing around with cooking small batches of muffins in a skillet. The ingredients are simple, the technique easy, and the results are absolutely delicious.

Hurray! English Muffins baked at home. This is absolutely something you should try.

Whole Wheat English Muffins
Adapted from Allrecipies. com

1 package active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
1 cup milk
2 Tbs. white sugar
1/4 cup unsalted butter
3 cups whole wheat flour
2 cups unbleached, all-purpose flour
1 tsp. salt

Corn meal
2 greased cookie sheets


Place flours and salt in the mixing bowl of a stand-mixer. Whisk to combine.

Melt the butter; set aside.

Heat 1 cup of water to about 110 degrees. Mix yeast and a pinch of out of the 2 Tbs. of sugar to the warm water and allow to stand for about 10 minutes as the yeast gets creamy.

In a small sauce pan, heat the milk until it just bubbles. Add the remainder of the sugar to the milk and mix to dissolve. Let stand until lukewarm.

Whisk the melted butter into the lukewarm milk/sugar mixture and then pour all of it into the bowl with the flours and salt. Add yeast and water mixture to the bowl. Stir to combine.

Knead the dough on the stand-mixer for 8 to 10 minutes. Whole wheat flour is sticky; add sprinkles of all purpose flour as necessary to get a smooth, elastic dough. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 hour.

After 1 hour, heat the oven to 100 degrees. Lightly flour the work surface and turn the dough out of the bowl. Form the dough into a log. Carefully spray a large serrated bread knife with cooking spray, then cut the log into 18 pieces. Use a sawing motion when cutting the pieces to avoid compressing the dough.

Dredge the dough slices in the corn meal and place on the oiled cookie sheets.

Turn off the oven. Place the cookie sheets into the warm oven and allow dough to rise for 30 minutes. Remove sheets from oven and leave the dough on the sheets while heating the oven to 375 degrees.

When the oven is ready, put the sheets back in and bake the muffins at 375 for 5 minutes. After 5 minutes, flip the muffins over, and bake for an additional 5 - 6 minutes.

Remove muffins and allow to cool on a rack.

Freeze those muffins not eaten on bake day or planned for use in the following day's meals.

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