Wednesday, January 4, 2012

Homemade English Muffins

For those readers who don't know me personally, I am easily bored, enjoy a challenge and sometimes have to try something "just to see IF I can do it". This is one of those days/weeks that fits all three. I can't seem to settle down to my usual routine of painting (water color) all morning, breaking for lunch then painting most of the afternoon until my fav Food Network shows come on (Giada, Ina Garten) before cooking supper.  So, this morning I decided to try a recipe I pinned on Pinterest (if you're not on it, you NEED to check it out!). This is one of those "just to see IF I can do it" recipes. I KNOW you can buy perfectly good English muffins in any grocery store, BUT how much better could they be??? Ahhhhhh.. that is always the question!! And, I'm sure you, by now, have guessed the answer - MUCH better than store bought! After all, isn't everything? So, for you adventuresome souls, equally bored friends or bread bakers, here is the recipe.

A few observations before you start: I don't have an electric griddle (surprised?) and baked mine on a cast iron grill that fits over 2 burners of my gas cooktop. I used canning jar rings for the shapers. Cookie cutters would have worked. Spray everything with Pam. The kicker for me was figuring out a lid. I used a cookie sheet (should have sprayed it with Pam, too) and lifted it (in panic) before the suggested time. You can imagine that 1/4 of the dough was stuck to it and some of the muffins lifted off the griddle. What a mess! Learn from my mistakes! Don't lift the cookie sheet/lid! No peeking!
Next time (and there WILL be a next time for this one) I will use wide mouth jar rings. The English muffins were dainty and petite. Of course, that only meant we ate more!! Aren't you so glad I have these "adventures" so that you can have a better experience or live vicariously through me???

Homemade English Muffins
1/2 cup non-fat dry powdered milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon shortening (or melted butter)
1 cup hot water
1 envelope active dry yeast (2 1/4 teaspoons)
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
Corn meal, for sprinkling
Non-stick spray
Canning lids or 3” metal rings* ( 12 regular size)

*Tip: For an extra special touch, try cookie cutters!
Combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, shortening and hot water in a bowl and stir by hand.
In another bowl, combine the yeast, a pinch of sugar and warm water until the yeast is dissolved, then add the mixture to the dry milk ingredients.
Thoroughly stir in (by hand) the flour until everything is combined. Cover with plastic wrap and set it in a warm spot for an hour.
Preheat an electric griddle to 300°F.*
Place the metal rings in the skillet and spray with non-stick cooking spray.
Stir the last 1/2 teaspoon of salt into the dough. Spoon the batter into each ring with a 1/4 cup measuring scoop and sprinkle a little corn meal on each of the tops.
Cover the skillet or griddle with a lid or cookie sheet and cook for 6-7 minutes.
Carefully remove the lid or sheet and flip the muffins over with tongs. Replace the lid or sheet, then cook for another 6-7 minutes or until browned.
Remove rings and cool on a cooling rack.
Split the muffins with a fork, around the edges, to keep the crannies intact, then lightly toast them.

Tip: Don’t have an electric griddle? Try cooking in batches on a preheated cast iron skillet or a non-stick skillet over medium heat.

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