Saturday, February 20, 2016

The Best English Muffins Ever!

No we did not have English Muffins for dinner. We had them for breakfast. Dinner was Steak Pizzioli and it was okay. I liked the sauce and the roasted potatoes the best. I just should have taken the meat out a couple of minutes sooner. Hey they can't all be winners. Enough about the overcooked meat. It is breakfast I want to focus on tonight.

This recipe is from A Beautiful Mess. I made the muffins yesterday and baked them last night. They were so crisp and the nooks and crannies were perfectly defined. I did not use a muffin ring, really not a necessary piece of equipment. Instead of using the mixer to knead the dough, I did it by hand. The texture was beautiful. It reminded me of the first time I made bread. Kneading the dough is so relaxing.

From A Beautiful Mess, English Muffins-

2 1/4 cups bread flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening (or butter at room temperature)
1 1/4 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/4 cup warm water
3/4 cup milk

Combine the yeast with the warm water. I like to add just a pinch of sugar to the water before pouring in the yeast, just really get things going.
In a large mixing bowl combine the flour, sugar, and salt. Stir in the shortening, this will be a little clumpy and that's OK. Now pour in the yeast water and milk. Stir until a dough ball forms. If you are using a stand mixer and dough hook to knead the dough, this will take about 6 minutes until the dough becomes elastic like. If you knead by hand it will probably take 8-10 minutes (and a lot more muscles). Place in a lightly oiled bowl, cover and allow to rise until doubled in size (about 60-90 minutes).

Plop the dough out on a floured work surface. Yes, you must plop. Divide the dough into six equal parts. *The original recipes encourages this, although I think this could easily make eight muffins as it yields pretty big English muffins if you stick with six.  Anyway, roll each muffin into a ball. Place on a baking sheet lined with parchment paper and a little bit of cornmeal (or flour). Cover, and allow to rise for an additional hour.

Heat a cast iron skillet (or other oven safe pan) over medium heat. Add a teaspoon of oil. You don't want too much as our goal isn't to fry the dough, but we don't want it to stick to the pan either. Cook for 5-6 minutes on each side. You want each side to get very brown, but not burnt.

Once you've cooked each side pop the skillet in the oven at 400°F for 10-12 minutes until the english muffins are cooked through.
If you do not have an oven safe pan, or you don't have one large enough for all the muffins, you can remove the muffins after cooking on each side to the baking sheet (still lined with parchment paper and cornmeal) and bake on there. Either way.

These are wonderful just out of the oven the day they are made. If you have leftovers, just place the cooled muffins in a Ziplock bag and seal it up. These will easily last a few days on the counter, or up to a week in the refrigerator. 
Today I took part in a focus group at Bishop's Orchard. You know the place I buy my produce. It was interesting hearing other shopper's stories. Looking forward to seeing what changes will come about. We received a gift basket for our time. A gift card (always appreciated!), the amazing apple cider donuts, apple sauce and an apple paper weight (I think that's what it is!). It all came in a shopping basket. Guess who liked that -

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