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Ontario, Canada
I am a wife, mother and grandma who enjoys the many aspects of homemaking. A variety of interests and hobbies combined with travel keep me active. They reflect the importance of family, friends, home and good food.
Cook ingredients that you are used to cooking by other techniques, such as fish, chicken, or hamburgers. In other words be comfortable with the ingredients you are using.
--Bobby Flay

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Friday, March 06, 2009

English Muffins

If you have been reading this blog you will know that I strongly encourage making your own bread products. Surprisingly the main reason for do so is not economic although most homemade bread products are considerably less expensive than store bought. The main reason is a freshly made product that you control the ingredients. You don't need to worry about ingredients like artificial colourants or flavours, high fructose corn syrup or excess salt, fats and sugar. Using a few simple, inexpensive ingredients you can make a wide variety of delicious homemade breads.

Many folks are intimidated by making bread products like bagels, doughnuts, dinner rolls and English muffins. Monday I made a batch of English muffins for the coming week. Homemade English muffins will keep about 5 days and they can be frozen to use throughout the week as needed. There's no need to be intimidated. Remember the only thing that really sets an English muffin apart from other yeast breads is how it is cooked. The underlying principles of making yeast breads remain the same. Once you see how easy it is to make English muffins and how tasty they are you won't go back to store bought!

making English muffinsEnglish muffins have their origins in Victorian England. They were made by the family baker from left over scraps of bread and biscuit doughs then fried on a hot griddle. The resulting light, crusty muffin was served the downstairs staff of Victorian England but they soon were requested by the upstairs family as well. English muffin factories soon appeared in England with the muffin man selling their wares. The peak of popularity for these muffins in England was the years before World War I however, they have gained popularity in North America.

There are several recipes for English muffins and I will post others as I make them. This recipe uses eggs so the muffins are rich and flavourful. The dough is kneaded until smooth and elastic (1). I remove the dough hook and cover the bowl with a damp T-towel (2) to allow the dough to double. The dough is then rolled out and cut with a wide mouth mason jar ring that I find is the perfect size. The rounds are placed on a baking sheet sprinkled with cornmeal (3). Then the tops are wet and sprinkled with cornmeal and the rounds are covered to rise for 30 minutes.

English muffinsEnglish Muffins

The traditional way to cook English muffins is on an ungreased griddle. If you do not have a griddle you can use a cast iron fry pan which is what the original bakers would have used. English muffins can also be cooked on an indoor or outdoor grill. The cooking time is considerably shorter than the bake time for a loaf of bread. My husband loves these English muffins. They aren't just for breakfast either. Cut them in half and use as a base for quick individual pizzas or place a nice slice of your favourite cheese over a half then bake in the oven until the cheese is melted and slightly browned.

English Muffins

1 c milk
2 eggs, beaten
2 tbsp butter
2 tbsp organic sugar
1 tsp sea salt
3 c unbleached flour*
2 tsp instant yeast

Warm milk to just warm. Beat eggs. Stir eggs and butter into the milk. Place dry ingredients in KitchenAid® or similar stand mixer bowl. Attach dough hook to mixer. Mix dry ingredients on speed 1 until well combined. With the mixer still on setting 1 slowly pour in the wet ingredients while continuing to mix. *Add small amounts of extra flour as needed until the dough cleans the side of the bowl. Knead on setting 1 until dough is smooth and elastic. Remove dough hook and cover with damp towel. Allow to proof until doubled. Roll out to ¼ - inch thick. Cut into 3 inch rounds. Place on a cornmeal sprinkled baking sheet. Brush the tops with water. Sprinkle cornmeal on the tops. Cover and let rise 30 minutes. Preheat ungreased griddle or grill to 175ºC (350ºF). Cook on each side 6 to 7 minutes or until lightly golden brown.

Yield: 20 muffins

Breakfast

I could not leave you without a picture of these wonderful English muffins. The eggs add a lovely richness to these muffins. Did you know that the best way to enjoy English muffins is to toast them? It's true! Toasting brings out the chewy and crunchy all at the same time with tantalizing your olfactory senses with their wonderful aroma.

Pictured is the homemade English muffin I enjoyed for breakfast. I lightly toasted it then spread on a little butter. Can you see those nice nooks and crannies? When cutting an English muffin turn it on its side then use a fork to poke holes around the perimeter. Break it apart and voila!


3 food lovers commented:

Pricilla said...

Wow! I have been thinking of making these and you have given me the courage! Thanks!

Sharkbytes (TM) said...

I used to make English Muffins. They are so good. I think you've talked me into making some!

The Mother said...

Thanks for the recipe. We love English muffins, and, while I bake all the time, I haven't tried these yet.