Wednesday, 3 December 2014

English Muffin Recipe

Finally!  I have finally gotten this recipe good enough to share with you here - it has definitely been a long time coming.  The reason for this recipe taking so long is I never ended up finding one that worked properly online that I could just tweak to make my own (generally what happens with a lot of my recipes).  I was literally starting from scratch with this one and crafting my own recipe.

Unfortunately, I could not figure out how to make these get the bubbles in the middle like the store bought ones have.  I do not know why, and I still have no clue as to how to make that happen (if you know, please take pity on me and fill me in in the comments).  However, I find that these still taste better than the ones bough in the store.  So is it worth the time making your own?  Yes, I would say it is.

So, after all that lets get started!

Prep & Rise Time: approx. 2.5 hrs          Cook Time: approx. 16 mins/batch          Makes:
Skill Required: Beginner

4-5 cups flour
3 tsp sugar
2 tsp salt
2 eggs
3/4 cup water
3/4 cup milk
1 package quick rise yeast
2 tbsp oil

1.  In 3/4 cup water, dissolve 1 tsp sugar.  Heat this mixture in the microwave for 20 seconds.

2.  Fill a sink or large bowl with a couple of inches of warm water.

3.  Ensure the sugar water from the microwave is not hot (it should be merely lukewarm), add the package of quick rise yeast and give it a gentle swirl.  Place the water/yeast cup into the bowl/sink of warm water.  Let the yeast proof.

Note - this method of yeast proofing is very likely over kill.  However, I have had some bad experiences of dough never rising and have developed a very anal method of preventing that.  I haven't had dough not rise since I started this.

4.  In a large mixing bowl, mix 2 cups of flour, 2 tsp sugar and 1 tsp of salt.

5.  In a small mixing bowl, mix 3/4 cup milk and 2 eggs.  Microwave this mixture for 20 seconds (this may seem crazy, but pouring the yeast into fresh-out-of-the-fridge milk and eggs could kill the yeast).

6.  Gently mix the yeast into the wet ingredients, then gently add the wet ingredients to the dry ingredients.

7.  Stir in one more cup of flour, then turn onto heavily floured board to knead.

8.  Knead dough for approximately 10-15 mins (the stronger you are, the less time this will require).  You can also put the dough into a stand mixer with a bread hook and knead the dough on low for 5-10 mins.
There are lots of ways of telling whether you are done kneading (such as the windowpane method).  But I just press my finger into the dough ball, and if the indent I made pops back out I know I am done (this is what both my Baba and Grandma taught me).  When you knead, you are building up the gluten in the dough (gluten is the substance that holds the bread together, keeping it from being too dry and crumbly).  The more you knead and build up the gluten, the less crumbly your English muffins will be.... But I digress.

9.  Pour the oil and 1 tsp of salt into a large mixing bowl (glass is preferred, tin often gets too hot when rising I find).  Taking the dough ball in one hand, rub the top around in the oil and around the bowl - this greases the sides of the bowl and covers the whole dough ball in oil so it doesn't dry out.
10.  Place a tea towel over the bowl and place the bowl in a warm - draft free - place to rise for an hour (best is in the oven).  My oven has a bread proof heat setting.  If yours doesn't you can simply turn on the oven light (many people find this to be warm enough), or turn on the oven preheat for about 3 mins (make sure you do not forget it on!!) and turn it back off.

Steps before rising.

The dough after having risen for an hour.

10.  Remove dough from bowl and roll out with a rolling pin.  It should be approx. 3/4" thick when you are done (this isn't an exact science, just keep in mind that they will rise a fare amount).

11.  Cut the rolled dough into circles.  I used a drinking glass for this.

12.  Cover the circles with tea towels and let rise another 45 mins to an hour on the cupboard.

13.  Brush a griddle pan with margarine (you can also do this in a frying pan on the stove).  Dip each side of the dough rounds into flour and place on the pan.

14.  Cook muffins for approx. 5-8 mins each side.


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