Thursday, May 17, 2012

English Muffins

I was looking at the recipes I've posted over the past couple years and I realized I've tried out quite a few "active yeast" recipes: sandwich bread, pizza dough, hamburger buns. My latest attempt is English Muffins. They are one of my favorite breakfast foods! I found the recipe on Pinterest. I followed the link to a blog focused on how tasty and cheap homemade food can be. She priced out English Muffins to be $0.08 per serving! Whoa!

These muffins take very minimal active preparation time and a lot of time waiting for the dough to rise....perfect for a girl taking care of a 2-month old! I've found the key to a good active yeast bread/dough is don't rush it: 1. letting the yeast bloom in warm water for 10 minutes before adding it to the flour and 2. allowing the dough enough time to rise properly.

I've made the English Muffins a few times now. This time they really turned out great! I learned a few things:
    - Even after letting the dough rise the correct amount of time, I still didn't have big "nooks and crannies" inside the muffins. I guess it's a trade secret that requires special machinery and engineering to make! So, I'm not too disappointed!
    - I also made sure both sides of the muffin were generously coated with non-stick spray. That way the muffins had a nice, crisp surfaces.
    - And, this time I used a large biscuit cutter. When I formed them by hand, the English Muffins ended up looking like a hamburger bun.
    - I substituted in almond milk and vegan butter and it turned out just difference in taste.

English Muffins
from Budget Bytes

1 t active dry yeast
1 T sugar
1/2 c milk
2 T butter
3 c flour, divided
3/4 t
1/4 c cornmeal
Non-stick spray

1. In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar and 1/2 cup of warm water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and yeast. Let sit about 5 minutes or until foamy on top.

2. Combine 1.5 cups of the flour and salt in a stand mixer. 

3. Combine the milk and butter in a small bowl. Microwave the milk/butter for 30 seconds, stir and microwave again for 30 seconds until butter is melted. 

4. Pour the yeast and milk mixtures into the flour. Mix until it has combined into a pasty mix. Adding 1/4 cup at a time, stir in more flour until the dough forms a soft, slightly sticky ball that pulls away from the bowl. Knead for an additional 5 minutes.

5. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl that has been coated in non-stick spray. Lightly spray the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let rise until double in size (about 45 min - 1 hr).

6. Punch the dough down, shape it into another ball, cover the bowl/dough and let rise a second time until doubled in size (another 45 min - 1 hr).

7. Punch down the dough again and turn it out onto a well floured countertop. Using a rolling pin, lightly roll the dough until it is about 3/4 inch thick. Using a biscuit cutter, cut the dough into circles. When you can't cut out any more circles, gently ball the remaining dough, roll again and cut more.

8. Place the cut dough circles onto a sheet pan that has been liberally covered in cornmeal. Sprinkle more cornmeal on top of the muffins. Cover loosely with a damp towel and let rise, once more, until double in size (another 45 minutes).

9. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Spray the pan with non-stick spray. Carefully transfer the fluffy, risen muffins to the hot skillet with a spatula (be careful not to deflate the muffins too much). 

10. Cook the muffins, in batches, in the skillet until they are golden brown and crispy on each side (~7 min per side). Let the muffins cool on a wire rack before attempting to slice open.

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