Saturday, November 18, 2017

Easy English Muffins

Over the years, I've tried quite a few recipes for English Muffins.  This month, Babe Elle of Feeding My Enthusiasms, offered up yet another version, and it is pretty easy to do.  The only caveat is that you have to think ahead by about 24 hours, but that's hardly a problem.

These muffins don't require kneading; they don't need to be rolled out; and they don't need special rings.  When it's time to form them, you just drop large dollops of dough onto a baking sheet that's been sprinkled with corn meal.  I didn't find it necessary to use a lot of corn meal, and didn't have any problems with sticking.  It was just enough to add that traditional crunch on the outside.

Like pancakes, the muffins are cooked on a griddle or in a large frying pan.

When ready, just split them open by using a fork, which helps create that great bumpy texture.  Then, they are ready for toasting.   Butter and jam?  Yum!  Mini pizzas? Yes.  Eggs benedict?  Definitely.  So many uses!  There's no excuse for not giving these a try.

English Muffins

adapted from Serious Eats, Stella Parks


Makes twelve 3 1/2-inch muffins

ACTIVE TIME:  20 minutes  
TOTAL TIME:16 to 30 hours

·         10 ounces bread flour (2 cups; 285g)
·         5 ounces whole wheat flour (1 cup; 140g) (makes a more tender interior)
·         2 3/4 teaspoons (11g) kosher salt; for table salt, use the same weight or half as  much by volume
·         1 1/4 teaspoons (4g) instant dry yeast (not rapid-rise)
·         12 ounces cold milk (1 1/2 cups; 340g), any percentage will do (helps create nooks and crannies)
·         3 1/2 ounces honey (1/4 cup; 100g)
·         1 large egg white, cold
·         5 ounces fine cornmeal (1 cup; 145g), for dusting - don't skip this
·         Roughly 1 ounce bacon fat, unsalted butter, or oil (2 tablespoons; 30g), for the griddle


      Make the Dough and First Rise: In a large bowl, mix bread flour, whole wheat flour, kosher salt, and yeast together until well combined. Add milk, honey, and egg white, stirring with a flexible spatula until smooth, about 5 minutes. Cover with plastic and set aside until spongy, light, and more than doubled, 4 to 5 hours at 70°F. (The timing is flexible depending on your schedule.)

.   Second Rise: Thickly cover a rimmed aluminum baking sheet with an even layer of cornmeal. With a large spoon, dollop out twelve 2 2/3-ounce (75g) portions of dough; it's perfectly fine to do this by eye. If you'd like, pinch the irregular blobs here and there to tidy their shape. Sprinkle with additional cornmeal, cover with plastic, and refrigerate at least 12 and up to 42 hours.  

    Cook on the Griddle and Serve: Preheat an electric griddle to 325°F or warm a 12-inch cast iron skillet or griddle over medium-low heat. When sizzling-hot, add half the butter and melt; cook muffins until their bottoms are golden brown, about 8 minutes. Flip with a square-end spatula and cook the other side. Transfer to a wire rack until cool enough to handle, then split the muffins by inserting a fork around the edges to pull them open a little at a time. Toast before serving and store any leftovers in an airtight container up to 1 week at room temperature (or 1 month in the fridge).  Can also be frozen.

The Bread Baking Babes get together each month to make a bread chosen by one of us. The Babes who baked along are: