Saturday, March 29, 2014

Not A Typical Muffin: The English Muffin

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I love a good breakfast sandwich, but they can be so expensive (not to mention calorie and fat-laden) to buy at a convenience or grocery store! When I came across a recipe to make my own English muffins, I knew I had to give them a try.  I honestly had no idea how English muffins were made and it's a pretty cool process. It does take a little time, but if you have some time to plan ahead you can make a big batch of these in an afternoon, plus they freeze really well!

The one tip I want to give while making these, is to make 100% sure that they're done in the center.  If they've browned on both sides on the griddle but aren't quite done (which a few of mine were) in the center, just put them on a baking sheet and slide them into a 350 degree oven for about 10 minutes or so, until they're completely cooked.  An insta-read thermometer comes in really handy for this recipe, that way you don't have to try to split the muffins open to make sure they're done.

These muffins are delicious and perfect, even for a busy weekday morning, to use as a foundation for a breakfast sandwich!  I piled them with turkey bacon and an over-easy or scrambled egg and thoroughly enjoyed a deviation from my usual oatmeal.

English Muffins

1 3/4 cups lukewarm milk
1 pkg. yeast
3 tbsp. softened unsalted butter
1 1/4 tsp. kosher salt
1 tbsp. granulated sugar
1 large egg (beaten)
4 1/2 cups AP flour
Nonstick spray (for the bowl and your hands)
Cornmeal (for dusting)

Warm your milk until it is 100 degrees (I microwaved mine, but the stove would work too), then pour it into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Sprinkle in the yeast and let it sit for 10 minutes.  If it has bubbled and foamed by then, your yeast is good to go.  If you notice that it hasn't, then the yeast is "dead" and you need to start over with fresh yeast!

Add in the butter, salt, sugar, egg and flour.  Fit the mixer with a paddle attachment and mix on low until the flour is incorporated.  Turn the mixer up to medium speed and beat for 5 minutes.  The dough will be soft and very sticky, but also very elastic.

Mist a large glass or ceramic bowl with the nonstick spray and scrape the dough into the bowl.  Cover and let it rise in a warm place for 2 hours.  If your home tends to be on the chilly side (like mine is), just turn your oven on to 150-200 degrees and set the bowl on the stovetop.

Spray your hands liberally with cooking spray (this really helps!) and pinch off golf ball sized portions of dough.  If you have a food scale (which I highly recommend!), measure each ball and make sure they're no bigger than 2 oz. Roll into balls and place on a cold griddle pan that has been dusted with cornmeal.  I have an electric griddle that worked perfectly.  

Note: Not all the dough balls would fit on the griddle, so I dusted a large baking sheet with cornmeal and put the remaining dough balls on that so I could cook in batches.  Just be careful when you transfer them from the sheet to the griddle, you don't want them to deflate.

Let the dough rest for 30 minutes, then turn on the grill pan to medium low and cook for about 12 minutes on each side, until they are golden brown. Transfer to a cooling rack when done to rest, then cook the rest in batches. Let cool completely before splitting with a fork to eat.  These keep well in an airtight container for 3-5 days and freeze beautifully!

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