Have you ever put off trying a recipe, despite every one's claims about how easy it is, because you are intimidated? Well, that has been me with English muffins. I love them. I especially love the Trader Joe's ones (although they aren't organic but then I haven't had to share them). One of my close mummy friends keeps saying "Really? You haven't made them? You make everything! And they are so easy!" Alas, I have still been intimidated. As of today though, I decided to bite the bullet and give it a go. With so many recipes out there, I decided that it might be best to use the bread machine to make the dough, especially since my cinnamon rolls rocked on Christmas. After much perusing, I found this beautifully photographed recipe over on Lemony Thyme.
Here is the recipe using honey:
1 cup milk, warmed (I warmed it on the wood stove)
3 TB butter
1 tsp. salt
1 tsp. honey
3 cups, plus 2 TB all-purpose flour or 13 ounces
1½ tsp. dry yeast
cornmeal for rolling dough
Put ingredients into bread machine as per your machines instructions.
Select DOUGH cycle.
Once finished, turn onto floured surface to cut into 8-10 equal size pieces. I cut into 8 pieces but they were a bit big so I chopped off the center of most of them and made a 9th muffin.
Place the shaped muffins onto cornmeal covered surface.
Sprinkle cornmeal over top and press lightly in.
Allow to rise for 30 minutes. I put mine in the oven on the bread proof setting i.e. 100 degrees.
Heat dry cast iron skillet or griddle over a low flame. Some sites will wipe the surface with canola oil to lightly grease the pan.
Cook the muffins for 5 - 7 minutes per side or until they turn golden brown
Serve and enjoy. As the Thomas' muffin packages say, fork separated. This really is the best way to "slice" them. If you use a knife, it will be similar to cutting hot bread and destroy your nooks and crannies!
Verdict? These tasted amazing. Seriously. The kids loved them, the husband loved them and even I loved them. I have room for improvement. First, I used a small crepe pan and could only do two at a time. At 10 minutes per 2 this took a while. What exactly does this mean? It means that next time some one says to me, what would you like? I can honestly answer: a cast iron griddle pan, preferably one that covers two burners. Then I could do an entire batch at once. By cooking in small batches, this recipe is time consuming. If you don't have a large griddle type pan, wait until after the kids go to bed and plan on spending some quality time standing over the stove top.
Also, I lightly greased the pan and as you can see from the picture below, the second set, after the canola oil was really hot, got a little blackened.
Finally, once the lightly applied oil was gone, I rushed the remaining batches a bit as I didn't want them to burn either and ended up with a couple that weren't quite a fluffy. Without the oil the muffins do not brown as quickly and giving them the full five minutes is pretty easy and they really do need the full five minutes to achieve that light as air quality.
By putting these into the bread machine, I felt confident that everything would mix nicely. The bread machine is not required though and I could just as easily do it by hand or in the stand mixer. I will definitely be making these again, most likely a double batch since less than 12 hours later, I had half a muffin left. Yes you read that right, out of nine muffins, only half made it through the kid's bedtime. Now I have no idea what to feed them for breakfast!
This article was shared on Natural Family Friday, The Chicken Chick,