Thursday, February 24, 2011

English Muffins.

If you can pour pancake batter onto a hot griddle, you can make English muffins. I promise you... it's that easy.

I was skeptical at first. When recipes call for yeast and kneading and setting things aside to rise, I get nervous. 

Also I'm an impatient person. Shocking, I know.

But I wanted to bake something new and exciting, something without chocolate or butter or layers of sugary buttercream frosting.

I was watching Biggest Loser at the time. 
Plus this recipe calls for 10 minutes of kneading. 

By hand. 

That counts as exercise, right?

After you let the dough do its thing, it really is simple as tossing them on a griddle and then in the oven for a few extra minutes.

They poof up...
And get golden brown...
And make everything smell like warm, baking bread. I wish I could take a picture of how good my kitchen smelled.
And, if you're lucky, some will come out looking like snarky ninja turtles.
 Feel free to add butter when Jillian's not looking.  

English Muffins

2 1/4 cup bread flour
1/2 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoon yeast
1 tablespoon shortening
3/4 cup buttermilk + 1/4 cup

In a large bowl, mix together flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. Add shortening and 3/4 cup buttermilk and mix. Add the extra 1/4 cup buttermilk a little at a time until the dough comes together.

Knead dough by hand for 10 minutes or in a stand mixer for 8 minutes. If using a stand mixer, knead the last minute by hand. The dough should be tacky, but not sticky. Oil a medium bowl or your largest measuring cup and add dough. Turn to coat in oil. Let sit (preferably somewhere warm) until doubled in size, about 60 to 90 minutes.

Prepare a sheet pan with parchment paper and sprinkle with cornmeal. Roll dough out on a floured surface until about 1/2-inch thick. Using a round, 3-inch biscuit counter, cut out muffins and place on the prepared baking sheet. Spray with oil and sprinkle with more cornmeal. 
Cover with plastic wrap and let the muffins rise for about an hour. Again, they rise faster if they're placed somewhere warm.

Heat a griddle to medium heat and preheat oven to 350°F. Add 3 or 4 muffins to the griddle and cook for 5 minutes on each side. When done, place on baking sheet in oven to bake for 6-8 minutes (I baked mine for 6 minutes and they were still a little doughy in the centers. A few minutes longer would've made them perfect). While these are baking, cook the remaining muffins on the griddle and then in the oven. Allow to cool on a wire rack until completely cool. 

Makes 7 English muffins.

Source: Barely adapted from Wilde in the Kitchen.