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English Muffins

The Brothers take on English Muffins:

English Muffins
After last week’s Skype bagel-making Sunday, Steuart and his brother decided to try English Muffins. Both of them made the dough last night and let it prove overnight. I made Paul’s recipe mixing it up at 10:15 this morning, by 1 p.m. they were ready to form into muffins and by 2 p.m. they had risen to more than double their size and were ready for cooking on the 300 °F griddle. They were formed rehand and not cut out with a straight-sided cutter as suggested in several recipes.  They size and shape was a liitle less regular than the the cut ones, but we had no waste.

The Ingredients (Paul Hollywood)
  • 300 grams (bread) flour
  • 6 grams fast-acting yeast
  • 6 grams of salt
  • 15 grams sugar
  • 15 grams softened butter
  • 1 egg
  • 170 ml milk
  • oil for greasing
  • semolina or polenta for dusting

Flour into the mixing bowl, add yeast on one side,  salt and butter on the other. Mix egg well in the milk and the sugar, add this mixture to the flour and incorporate into a soft dough. Knead for ten minutes until it is smooth, and return to mixing bowl. Cover with plastic and let prove until double in size – in our kitchen this step took about 2 hours.  Dust the bench with polenta. Roll out dough to about an inch (2.5 cm). Use a 9 cm or 3.5 inch straight sided cutter to make 8 muffins.  Let rise again until doubled. Then fry on a hot griddle for 5 minutes, flip and brown the other side. To ensure that the muffins are cook through to the center, but the muffins on a cookie sheet in a 350 degF oven. They will also stay warm while you finish cooking the whole batch.

When you cut the muffins in circles you will have scraps that you can let rise along with the muffins and use these to test for doneness if you don’t have an oven or don’t want to waste a beautiful muffin by opening it up and finding it is still doughy. Steuart formed two of his muffins with scraps and their exterior appearance did look more uneven.

We were happy with all three batches of English Muffins, and didn’t think it required a lot of skill. I’m still recovering from breaking my wrist and so my kneading of the dough wasn’t as strenuous as I would have been a few months ago. Still, my dough held together and had a nice sticky quality that left the finished muffin with lots of holes and not crumbly or too dry.  Lisa had a package of store-bought muffins that she brought out to compare to the ones Andrew made, and is showing off here. The muffin on the left is half the height and less evenly browned.

Andrew’s Bon Appetite Recipe
    • 7 grams fast-acting yeast – 1 pkt
    • 1 cup warm water
    • pinch of sugar (in water w/yeast)
    • 2 teaspoons salt
    • 3 1/2 cups of bread flour
    • 2 Tablespoons butter melted or oil
    • 170 ml buttermilk (not sure of amount)
    • oil for greasing
    • semolina or polenta for dusting

Andrew used this recipe and proved the dough overnight. Steuart used a similar recipe – Emma Christiansen’s from the Kitchn.  Steuart cut his out with the 9cm round and they we very even in size. Andrew had cut his dough into pieces and shaped the rounds free-hand and so that’s what we also did with Paul’s recipe.

We could only taste two of the muffins, and decided that Emma’s recipe with 2T of sugar was too sweet, but the overnight proving of the dough did develop more bready good taste. Andrew’s recipe included buttermilk and I would like to try this.  I like the taste of Paul’s recipe, but Steuart wasn’t sure the egg offered much added taste. We don’t know if the egg will be good for the overnight proving and we do think that was a good move for getting the best taste out of this muffin.

What to Serve with Fresh English Muffin

Fresh off the griddle, the muffin smells great. Use two forks on the edge to open the muffins and keep the warm ridged texture inside.   (See video)

Butter melts, jelly tastes great on it. A slice of really sharp cheddar cheese pairs beautifully. And a saucy tuna salad with fresh cucumbers and tarragon, sorrel and garlic chive from the garden makes these muffins a meal.

Barbecue tonight – and you guessed it – hamburgers on English Muffins.

Other recipes online that were consulted

Jamie Oliver

300 ml milk , plus extra
1 x 7 g sachet of dried yeast
25 g white caster sugar
50 g shortening or lard
425 g plain flour, plus extra
20 g polenta, optional
unsalted butter

The Kitchn: by Emma Christensen

For the dough starter:

3/4 cup(3 1/3 ounces) all-purpose flour or bread flour
1/2 cupwater
1/2 teaspoonactive dry or instant yeast (or 2 tablespoons active sourdough starter)
For the English muffin dough:

1 cup milk, whole or 2%
1 teaspoon active dry or instant yeast
2 tablespoons sugar
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1 teaspoon salt
3 to 3 1/4 cups(13 1/2 to 14 1/2 ounces) all-purpose flour or bread flour
Cornmeal for dusting
Butter for the skillet
Food Network: Alton Brown

1/2 cup non-fat powdered milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening
1 cup hot water
1 envelope dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Non-stick vegetable spray

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