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Saturday, November 19, 2011

English Muffins (guest post by Nora/Mom!)

Hello! Today's post is a guest post from my Mom who made some delicious looking english muffins recently! I say they look delicious because I'm not at home right now and didn't get to have any, but I have on her word that they're great- they look all craggy and holey for all your butter (or topping of your choice) to go in. Take it away Mom!

I hadn't made English Muffins in a long time. I started to see recipes that included a little baking soda, and since I'm all about more bubbles, spaces and holes in my bread, I decided this needed investigation. I ended up using the following recipe from which is actually a recipe for crumpets (research showed that crumpets are just english muffins that are not toasted on the top). The recipe recommended making the dough just a bit stiffer for muffins.

I put all the dry ingredients in a bowl and used 1/3 C dry milk instead of the cup of milk (do not use the soda and water yet). Then I added 1/1/2 C of warm water and beat it for 5 min in the kitchen aid. It was a very stretchy, wet batter.

I found the batter was ready in less than 2 hours, so I went ahead and used it. This is when you dissolve the soda in water and beat it into the dough. Then let it set  30 min while you prepare your baking method. I decided to use the pancake grill because it would have room for 8 at a time. I made rings from folded over strips of foil. (of course everybody says to use tuna cans… but when was the last time you had 4 or 6 cans of tuna for dinner?). Grease the rings very well and set them on the greased hot surface. Flop about 1/4 cup dough into each ring, spreading if necessary. Mine was wet enough that it flowed to the edges.

Next time I'll try using a pan on the stove because the pancake grill heated very evenly but it was awfully slow. After about 8 minutes I was able to flip them, and gave them about 5 min more on the second side.

I've read others experiences, and next time I will finish these in a 350 oven for maybe 8 minutes, as my muffins were slightly too wet in the middle.

They were beautiful, tho, as you can see. And toasted, what a dream. Actually we used most of them as hamburger buns. Loved that because normally there is way too much bun compared to burger. This was perfect. Good luck with your own english muffins, they are going to be so much better than store bought. (They freeze well too!)

1/2 cup warm (approx. 110°F) water
1/4 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup warm (approx. 110°F) milk
3/4 teaspoon salt
2 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (for crumpets) or 2 2/3 cups King Arthur Unbleached All-Purpose Flour (for English muffins)
1/8 teaspoon baking soda
1/4 cup lukewarm water
-Combine the warm water, sugar and yeast in a large bowl and let sit until foamy. Add the warm milk and salt to the yeast mixture, then stir in the flour. Beat hard, using an electric mixer, for 5 minutes (this beating, as well as the addition of baking soda just before cooking, will help the finished muffin develop its holes). Cover bowl, set in a warm place, and let batter rise for 3 hours, or until it is very bubbly. Don't worry if the batter bubbles up, then falls down; if it does, just proceed to the next step.
-Dissolve the baking soda in the 1/4 cup lukewarm water, and stir it gently into the batter. Let rise again, this time for only 30 minutes.
-Heat a greased plett pan (first choice), frying pan or griddle over low heat for 10 minutes. Spoon about 1/4 cup of batter into each ring in the plett pan, or spoon batter into circular shapes on a griddle or frying pan. Tuna cans, well-cleaned and with both ends cut off, are useful in containing the crumpet batter. Just set them on your frying surface, being sure to grease well first.
-Crumpet batter will spread easily; English muffin batter, which is thicker, needs to be nudged into a round shape with the back of a spoon or fork.
Let English muffins cook 5 to 8 minutes, or until bottoms are golden, then flip over and let the other side cook the same amount of time, removing from pan when both sides are brown.
-For crumpets, cook 8 minutes without turning; tops will be uncolored but dry, and full of holes. Place muffins on a wire rack to cool. To serve, split English muffins and toast; toast crumpets without splitting. Serve with butter and jam, or a fruit butter, such as the one that follows. Makes approximately 16 3-inch muffins.

Thanks for the post Mom, and I hope the rest of you go out and make some english muffins!
Savor it!
love, rue

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