Tuesday, 18 March 2008

English Muffins

Homemade English muffins are quite a different animal from the ones you buy in the store, which tend to be, like a lot of industrially produced food, mere ghosts of themselves; pale, limp and flabby. Real English muffins have heft and colour, a rich flavour of wheat and yeast, and a satisfactorily chewy texture.

Like most homemade breads, they are somewhat time-consuming but not difficult to make. Like pancakes, a little practice is helpful to get the baking time and temperature exactly right, but once that is done they are extremely straightforward. Then ho! for the toaster, the butter, jam and tea! A little moment of civilization is yours.

English MuffinsFor my muffins, I used a mixture of half unbleached hard flour and half lightly sifted Red Fife flour. I served them with butter and Blueberry Jam.

16 muffins
5 hours or more - 45 minutes total work time

English Muffins with Blueberry Jam1 1/2 cups milk
1 tablespoon unsalted butter
1 extra-large egg
2 teaspoons yeast

3 3/4 cups hard whole wheat or unbleached flour
OR a combination of the two
1/4 cup gluten flour
1 teaspoon salt
1/4 teaspoon ascorbic acid (vitamin C powder)

1 tablespoon sunflower seed oil

Heat the milk and butter until the butter melts. The milk should be warm rather than hot. Beat in the egg and sprinkle the yeast over the milk to dissolve.

Mix the flours with the salt and ascorbic acid.

When the yeast is foamy, mix the flour into the milk and egg mixture to form a rough dough. Turn the dough and any loose flour out onto a clean counter or board and knead it until all the flour is absorbed and the dough is smooth and elastic; about 10 minutes.

Put the oil into a clean bowl, and put the ball of dough in as well. Turn the dough to coat it in the oil, then cover it with a clean cloth and let it rise until doubled in size, about 2 hours. The dough may be made in a bread machine up to this point, using the dough cycle.

Punch down the dough (press it to release most of the accumulated gases) and knead it briefly. Roll it into a cylinder of about 5 cm (2") in diameter. Cut it into 16 equal slices, and lay the slices on an oiled cookie sheet or parchment or waxed paper. Cover them with a damp towel and let them rise until doubled in size again; about 2 hours.

To cook the muffins, heat a large heavy skillet over low heat; just a little lower than you would normally use for cooking pancakes. Bake the muffins for 3 to 5 minutes on each side, turning them once. They should be lightly browned, and the sides should be firm.

To serve the muffins, split them and toast them. Butter, jam and/or honey all go very well with them.


Peter M said...

Ferdzy, this is the 1st time of seen a home made English Muffin recipe.

They look fab and noted should I muster the courage to try them.

Kevin said...

Making your own English muffins is a great idea. They look so good with the butter and jam on!

Bellini Valli said...

It is is breakfast time, but sad to say for me no time to whip up a batch...there is always FedEx...wink...:D

Neen said...

How comfy, with the warm tea and all. Was this a weekend project? Do they freeze well?

Ferdzy said...

They freeze fairly well, yes. Being self-employed, I'm more likely to do this kind of thing during the week. It's been quite a while since I've made them, though. They could have turned out a little neater, although they tasted just fine.

And Valli, what makes you think there are any left?!?