Sunday, June 5, 2011

English Muffins

If you haven't noticed by now, I like to try to make my own bread. Any type of bread, rolls or muffins. I have tried several times to make French bread, it just isn't working like it is suppose to for me yet. 
I have had this recipe for English muffins for a while now, I don't really eat English muffins all the time. So I didn't really have a need to make the recipe yet, that was until I started craving eggs benedict a couple weeks ago.
I wasn't about to pay almost 3 dollars just for I think 4 to 6 muffins!!
So of course I remembered I had a recipe somewhere in that big cookbook of recipes I had collected for these wonderful English muffins.
I had to work the day we made them so the hubby, (who is very handy when it comes to making bread) made them. He did a wonderful job! 
Homemade anything is so much more better then the store bought stuff. 
These muffins worked wonderfully for my Eggs Benedict (I will be posting that recipe next).
I didn't know that you had to cook the English muffins on a skillet before baking them. It is very cool to me to learn how food is made, I find it very intriguing.
Don't be afraid to try to make these!
The recipe seems long and daunting but it was actually fairly easy.

English Muffins
*Makes 6 English Muffins

2 1/4 cups unbleached bread flour (I used all-purpose)
1/2 Tbsp. granulated sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
1 1/4 tsp. instant yeast
1 Tbsp. shortening or unsalted butter, at room temperature
3/4 to 1 cup milk or buttermilk, at room temperature
Cornmeal for dusting

1. Stir together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast in a mixing bowl (or in the bowl of an electric mixer). Stir in (or mix in on low speed with the paddle attachment) the shortening and 3/4 cup milk until the ingredients form a ball. If there is still loose flour in the bowl, dribble in some of the remaining 1/4 cup milk. The dough should be soft and pliable, not stiff.
2. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading (or mixing on medium speed with the dough hook). Knead the dough for about 10 minutes (or mix for about 8 minutes), sprinkling in more flour if needed to make a tacky, but not sticky dough. It should pass the windowpane test and register 77 to 81 degrees F. Lightly oil a large bowl and transfer the dough to the bowl, rolling it to coat it with oil. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap.
3. Ferment at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size.
4. Wipe the counter with a damp cloth and transfer the dough to the counter. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces of 3 ounces each (we guessed on the weight). Shape the pieces into boules (or round rolls). Line a sheet pan with baking parchment, mist the parchment lightly with spray oil, and dust with cornmeal. Transfer the balls of dough to the sheet pan, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Mist them lightly with spray oil, sprinkle them loosely with cornmeal, and cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap or a towel.
5. Proof at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the pieces nearly double in size and swell both up and out.
6. Heat a skillet or flat griddle to medium (350 F if you have a thermometer setting). Also, preheat the oven to 350 F with the oven rack on the middle shelf.
7. Brush the pan or griddle with vegetable oil or mist with spray oil. Uncover the muffin rounds and gently transfer them to the pan, sliding a metal spatula under them and lifting them to the pan. Fill the pan so that the pieces are at least 1 inch apart, not touching. Cover the pieces still on the sheet pan with the plastic wrap or a towel to prevent them from developing a skin. The dough that is being cooked will flatten in the pan and spread slightly, then the pieces will puff somewhat. Cook them for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the bottom of the dough cannot cook any longer without burning. The bottoms should be a rich golden brown; they will brown quickly but will not burn for awhile, so resist the temptation to turn them prematurely or they will fall when you flip them over. Carefully flip the pieces over with the metal spatula and cook on the other side for 5 to 8 minutes in the same manner. Both sides will now be flat. When the dough seems as if it cannot endure any further cooking without burning, transfer the pieces to a sheet pan and plane the pan in the oven (don't wait for still uncooked pieces, or the ones just out of the pan will cool down and will not respond to the oven stage). Bake for 5 to 8 minutes on the middle shelf in the oven to ensure that the center is baked. Meanwhile, return to the uncooked pieces and cook them, then bake them, as you did the first round.
8. Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.

Recipe adapted from: Brown Eyed Baker

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