A couple of posts ago I mentioned that im not really a morning person but recently I sure have been making and baking a fair bit of breakfast food. Bread is something I tackle only rarely but when I do, and im actually successful, I find it very satisfying. There is something magical about seeing the change from soft sticky dough to warm risen bread, mixed with the fact I have had a couple of failures, making it seem all the more special when Im actually able to enjoy the fruits of my labour. I didn’t fancy making a loaf or bagels or buns, I really wanted to try my hands at English Muffins. I cant think of anything better, for a lazy morning breakfast, than a runny poached egg oozing its yolk all over the crackly surface of the muffin generously spread with butter topped with a little sea salt and fresh pepper, heaven! Even better these were very easy and they freeze very well.
English Muffins – Peter Reinhart’s “The Bread Baker’s Apprentice”
2 1/4 Cups Plain Flour
1/2 Tblsp Sugar
1/4 Tsp Salt
1 1/4 Tsp Instant Yeast
1 Tblsp Butter or Shortening, at room temperature
3/4 – 1 Cup Milk, at room temperature
Cornmeal for sprinkling
1. In a large bowl mix together the flour, sugar, salt and yeast. Mix in the butter or shortening and 3/4 milk (or up to 1 cup if too dry).
2. Transfer the dough to a floured surface and knead well for 10 minutes. Place the dough ball in a lightly oiled bowl and roll to coat. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap and set aside for about an hour to rise. Divide the dough into 6 equal sized pieces (I didnt quite manage this). Line a baking sheet with parchment paper, lightly oil and then sprinkle with cornmeal. Place the shaped dough balls on the parchment, cover lightly with plastic wrap and let rise for another hour.
3. Preheat the oven to 350 F / 175 C and set a frying pan over medium heat. Brush the pan with oil and gently transfer the dough a couple of balls at a time. Allow the muffins to cut for 5-8 minutes until browned. Flip over carefully and cook for a further 5-8 minutes again till nice and brown.
4. Once the muffins are nicely browned on both sides quickly transfer them with a spatula to a baking sheet and place in the oven. Dont wait for them all to be ready, cook each batch as you go. Bake for another 5-8 minutes then transfer to cooling rack for 30 minutes before enjoying.
To get that desired crackly surface do not slice these muffins with a knife. Spear a fork around the middle and rip open.