Saturday, October 26, 2013

English Muffins

What else is there to do on a rainy Saturday morning but make English muffins from scratch?  This was the thought I had a few weeks ago, and thus began my foray into making these little breads.  They weren't very hard to make, but they had some unexpected steps!

browning away!
For instance, did you ever wonder why English muffins are browned on both sides?  No, me either.  Well I can tell you now that it's because you actually brown the raw dough balls in a skillet before you even bake them!  I was shocked and a little nervous to have raw bread dough cooking in a pan, but it was kind of fun too.  The dough balls are supposed to flatten out while they cook, but mine stayed pretty puffy.  I will make sure to squash them a bit if necessary the next time around; we ended up with English muffin puffballs, but at least they still tasted great!

The problem with making these is that you never again want to buy them from a store.  Those thin little rounds of cardboard do not compare to the warm, soft, slightly sweet English muffins coming out of your oven, complete with nooks and crannies!  One note: use room temperature milk like the recipe says.  I was impatient and poured the cold milk right in there, and I think it affected the rising time of my dough.  I think I will be a good girl this time around, or maybe even slightly heat it to help the yeast boom.  Either way it is important to notice that there will be a next time for homemade English muffins.  They were beyond excellent coming out of the oven, but we enjoyed our double batch for days, toasted and spread with butter or jam, or both!  Mmmmm... I'm feeling the need to go make some now....


English muffins
from Annie's Eats
yield 6 English muffins

2 1/4 cups flour
1 1/2 teaspoon sugar
1/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon instant yeast
1 tablespoon butter, at room temperature
3/4 - 1 cup milk, at room temperature
cornmeal for sprinkling


1) In the bowl of a stand mixer fitted with the padre attachment, combine the flour, sugar, salt and yeast.  Mix in the butter and 3/4 cup of milk.  Add just enough of the remaining milk to form a dough and incorporate the dry ingredients.  Switch to the dough hook and knead on low speed, about 7-8 minutes.  Transfer the dough to a lightly oiled bowl and roll to coat.  Cover bowl with plastic wrap and let rise for about an hour.

2) Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and shape into balls.  Lay parchment paper on a baking sheet and spray or coat lightly with oil.  Sprinkle with cornmeal.  Move the dough balls to the baking sheet, spacing them evenly with room to rise.  Cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise another hour.

3) Preheat the oven to 350 degrees.  Heat a skillet on medium heat on the stovetop.  Brush the skillet lightly with oil and gently transfer the dough balls to the skillet a few at at a time.  Allow them to cook for 5-8 minutes more.  They should flatten as they cook.

4) Remove the muffins from the skillet and transfer them to a parchment- or silpat-lined baking sheet.  Bake in the preheated oven for 5-8 minutes.  Do not wait until all the muffins have been browned in the skilled before moving them to the oven; as the first batch is baking, move the second batch to the skillet.

5) Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and let cool at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.  Store in an airtight container.

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