Friday, October 16, 2009

Simple English Muffins

A English Muffin is a yeast leavened bread always dusted with cornmeal.Originally from England where it is a midday/high tea meal it can be consumed even at breakfast or anytime as you wish.While in US, I was familiar with Thomas English Muffins and wanted to try this at home.Few days back while rearranging my 'Recipes- to - be -tried' folder, I remembered the ones I had bookmarked from Pete Bakes. I never knew they were so easy to make.They turned perfect and so here they are.

Ingredients:
All Purpose Flour: 2 and 1/4 cup
Instant Yeast: 1 and 1/4 tsp
Sugar: 1.5 tsp (1/2 tbsp)
Salt: 1/4 tsp

Shortening/Butter : 1 tbsp room temperature. I used Vegetable Shortening/Vanaspati
Milk: room temperature 3/4 -1 cup

Cornmeal : for sprinkling

Preparation:
In a large bowl,stir together flour,yeast,salt and sugar.Add in shortening and 3/4 cup milk and mix well to form a dough.Add remining milk only if the dough feel too dry.I did not as my dough was very moist and sticky.

Transfer to a floured surface and knead with hands for about ten minutes till a smooth dough is obtained.Knead to form a ball and place it in a lighly oiled (I used non stick oil spray) bowl.Roll the ball with the bowl so that it gets coated with oil and cover the bowl with a plastic wrap.Let it rise for about an hour at which time it doubles (almost).

Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces and shape each into a bowl.Place the individual balls a bit apart on a lined (parchment/foil) baking sheet and spray with oil/spray and sprinkle with cornmeal.Cover the baking sheet loosely with a plastic wrap and let the dough rise for another hour.

Pre heat the oven to 350F and heat up a oiled/sprayed skillet on the gas on medium heat.Transfer the dough balls to the skillet few at a time.I went for 3 dough pieces.Let them cook for 5-7 minutes until the bottoms are nicely browned and then turn to the other side gently with a spatula/turner so that both sides are cooked.Cook each side for 5 -8 minutes and you can sometimes see that they flatten as they get coked. Mine did not get that flattened or may be I missed it in my excitement.

Transfer the browned bread back to the baking sheet and place it in the hot oven where it gets cooked for 5-8 minutes more .I removed after 5 minutes from the oven.While the first batch is is being done in the oven ,transfer the second batch to the skillet and repeat the process.Transfer the baked muffins from the oven to a cooling rack and let it rest for about 30 minutes before slicing and devouring.

You can also store the muffins in a ziploc bag and refrigerate it for later use after 30 minutes.I baked these in the evening and stored them in the fridge and voila next days breakfast was ready.



Some people confuse between crumpets and English muffins.Though both are related - both require a skillet for initial cooking as in this recipe ,but instead of skillet ,English muffins can be directly baked in the oven.Also the crumpets are having holes - nooks and crannies while muffins do not have these.A crumpet has pancake quality while the muffin is a bread,though both have flour and yeast.Earlier even I was thinking both are same,but after tasting and making both crumpet and now muffins,I am aware of the difference.Also do check out DK of ChefInYou's Low fat wheatish English Muffins which are completely baked in the oven.

The muffins were great and Thanks Pete for sharing the wonderful recipe.Do check up the step by step pics in the original recipe.The Perfect English Muffins are on way to WBD # 4 by Zorra who celebrates the World Bread Day annually on Oct 16.

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