Wednesday, April 21, 2010

English Muffins

We've really been working on eating organic foods lately. I'm tired of putting food in my body that has been made with weird chemicals with unpronounceable names. To me, there's nothing more organic than handmaking and kneading bread at home AND what can be better than homemade English Muffins with those tasty nooks and crannies topped with some freshly churned herbed butter? Also, we're in our bread and baking curriculum at school and have been teaching the kids about yeast (what fun!), so needless to say I'm in bread making heaven! Some of the recipe I've been doing at home but just have not gotten a chance to post include: homemade dinner rolls with freshly made butter, braided challah, herbed focaccia, and I also perfected my pizza dough recipe, which I will have to post. But anyway, I digress. For the English Muffins, I found two recipes online and, of course, in true form, I didn't like either of them by themselves so I decided to combine/amend them. The recipes came from petebakes, which is a baking blog I frequent, and The Culinary Institute of America. Oh and the best thing about this recipe is that it is only 6 ingredients and most items can be readily found in the pantry already!
1 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1 cup water, warmed to 110F
2 3/4 cups all-purpose flour
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, softened
1 teaspoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 cup cornmeal, or as needed
1- Place the yeast and warm water in the bowl of a mixer and stir to completely dissolve. Let the yeast proof until foamy, about five minutes. Add the flour, butter, sugar, and salt to the yeast mixture.
2- Mix the ingredients until the dough comes together. When it starts to come together, begin to knead the dough on a floured surface for 10 mins. (That's the proper way, but I usually knead right in the bowl to save clean up!)
3- Shape the dough into a ball and place it into a lightly greased bowl. Cover with plastic wrap and let the dough rise in a warm place for an hour.
4- After an hour, punch the dough down one or two times.
5- Divide the dough into 12 equal pieces and shape into balls and flatten the balls into discs.
6- Sprinkle cornmeal onto a cookie sheet and coat both sides of the discs with cornmeal.
7-Cover with saran wrap and let them rise for another hour.
8- Heat the oven to 350 F and heat up a skillet on medium heat on the stovetop. Brush the skillet with oil and gently transfer the discs to the skillet a few at a time.
9- Allow them to cook on the skillet for 5-8 minutes, until the bottoms are nicely browned. Flip and cook the other side for about 5-8 minutes more.
10- When the muffins look as if they are about to burn, remove them from the skillet with a spatula and transfer quickly to a baking sheet. Bake at 350 for 5-8 minutes. Do no wait until all of the muffins have been cooked on the skillet before moving them to the oven – as the first batch is baking, move the second batch of muffins to the skillet.
11- Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and cool before slicing or serving. Store them as you would muffins you buy in the store – in a sealed Ziploc bag in the fridge or freezer.
Have fun:)