Ever look at something as simple as say, an English Muffin, and wonder “hmm… how is this thing made?” No? Well, that happens to be exactly what comes to my mind…This is, of course, after I estimate (to the closest tablespoon) how much butter I will be needing in order to thoroughly saturate every single nook and crannie (is it cranny or crannie?) ..when it’s all said and done, English Muffins are pretty much just another vessel upon which to carry my butter.
There isn’t much of a story behind these except for the fact that after making them – “Holy crap! I am a genius! They are like, the real thing!”- I was so pleased with my accomplishment that I found myself showing pictures of these beauties to poor, unsuspecting patrons of the bar I
stumbled into visited that night. So let’s recap what you might have gathered from this post: A) I didn’t make any new friends that night, 2) I spend free time pondering things like how to make English Muffins and subsequently forcing photos of them on strangers. Which means YOU probably wouldn’t be my friend… unless I went and did something crazy like… C) Made ENGLISH MUFFINS FROM SCRATCH THAT TURNED OUT AWESOME. So there you have it. We are officially friends.
Also, don’t let the somewhat lengthy directions steer you away from making these. If I can do it, so can you. It’s just time-consuming so you’ll need a few hours… but it will be so worth it when you have pictures of your own to show to future friends at bars.
(adapted from browneyedbaker)
2 1/4 cups all-purpose flour or unbleached bread flour
1/2 tablespoon granulated sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 1/4 teaspoons instant yeast
1 tablespoon unsalted butter, at room temp
3/4 to 1 cup buttermilk, at room temp
cornmeal (medium or fine grain)
1. Stir together the flour, sugar, salt, and yeast in a mixing bowl. Mix in the butter and ¾ cup milk until the ingredients form a ball. Add small amounts of remaining buttermilk if there is still loose flour in the bowl. The dough should be soft and easy to knead.
2. Sprinkle flour on the counter, transfer the dough to the counter, and begin kneading for about 10 minutes (here’s your arm work out). The finished product should not be sticky so if it is, add a little more flour as you knead. Lightly oil a large bowl and roll the ball of dough in it to coat. Cover the bowl with the dough in it with plastic wrap.
3. Let sit (this is called “fermenting” but for whatever reason, I don’t like that word.. and this is my blog… so I’m not using it) at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, or until the dough doubles in size.
4. Transfer the dough to a clean counter. Divide the dough into 8 equal pieces. Shape the pieces into rounds and then smoosh them down a little into thick patties. Spray a baking sheet with cooking spray and dust with cornmeal. Transfer the balls of dough to the sheet pan, spacing them about 3 inches apart. Mist them lightly with cooking spray, sprinkle them with cornmeal, and cover the pan loosely with plastic wrap.
5. Let sit again at room temperature for 60 to 90 minutes, the pieces should nearly double in size.
6. Heat a skillet over medium heat and preheat your oven to 350 degrees F with the oven rack on a middle shelf.
7. Mist the skillet with cooking spray. Begin transferring the muffins to the pan (it helps to use a spatula here because you will find that even a slight touch to the dough with leave an indent). Fill the pan so that the pieces are not touching. The dough that is being cooked will flatten in the pan slightly. Cook them for 5 to 8 minutes, or until the bottom of the dough is be a rich golden brown; they will brown quickly but will not burn for a while, so don’t turn them too soon! Carefully flip the pieces over with the spatula and cook on the other side for 5 to 8 minutes in the same manner. Both sides will now be flat. When the dough is equally golden brown on each side, transfer the pieces to a sheet pan and place the pan in the oven (don’t wait for the still uncooked pieces, if there are any, or the ones just out of the pan will cool down and will not respond to the oven stage). Bake for 5 to 8 minutes in the oven to ensure that the center is baked.
8. Transfer the baked muffins to a cooling rack and cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing or serving.