Saturday, April 4, 2009

English Muffins - From Scratch!

A long time ago I made English muffins from scratch. It was such fun that I even bought rings to shape the muffins! I haven't revisited the idea in years, but decided to do it again recently.

The recipe requires both a griddle and an oven. Here's what you do (and you don't have to have English muffin rings to do this successfully):

  • 1 1/2 tsp active dry yeast
  • 1/2 cup lukewarm water
  • 1/2 tsp honey
  • 1 cup lukewarm milk
  • 2 T olive oil or cooled melted unsalted butter (I use olive oil)
  • 1 1/2 cups whole wheat flour
  • 1 1/2 - 1 2/3 cups unbleached white flour
  • 1 3/4 tsp salt
Dissolve the yeast in warm water in a large bowl. Stir in the honey. Let it work for 5 - 10 minutes.
Stir in the warm milk and the olive oil
Mix together 1 1/2 cups of the white flour, the whole wheat flour and the salt in a medium bowl.
Add this to the yeast mixture, using the paddle attachment of the mixer
Change to a dough hook and knead (or knead in the bowl or on the counter) for 10 minutes. Add more white flour as needed.
Cover the bowl with a wet towel or plastic wrap and set in a warm place to rise until doubled (about 1 1/2 hours).

Dust a work surface with flour. Divide the dough into 10 parts and move them to the work surface. Sprinkle each part with flour and shape into a 4 inch round or square. Dust with flour.

Cover and let rise for 35 to 45 minutes (until doubled).

Warm a griddle over low heat for 10 minutes until a drop of water sizzles. Meanwhile preheat the oven to 325.

Slide a spatula under one muffine and transfer it to the griddle. Cook for 5 minutes on one side.
Turn and cook for 5 minutes on the other side.
Turn AGAIN and cook for another 5 minutes and turn AGAIN and cook another 5 minutes.

Remove from the griddle and place on an unoiled baking sheet. Bake for 5 minutes or until brown on both top and bottom. Cook one or more muffins at a time, depending on the griddle size, until you have baked all the dough.

Cool the muffins on a rack. Split in half and toast. Serve with butter and jam or honey.

Postscript: This was a long, painful process. My griddle holds 8 muffins, but still it took about 30 minutes for the first 8 and an additional 30 minutes for the last two. I found the turning every 5 minutes on the griddle to test my cooking patience! I don't regret making them because we all loved them, but it will be a long time before I visit this recipe again!
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