Sunday, April 24, 2011

Homemade English Muffins

Today was one of my favorite types of days. It was a day of discovery - food discovery to be specific - and nothing gives me more joy and excitement as do these moments. I get to experience something new, something delicious, and I feel that much more knowledgeable about the world around me than before. The food world is infinitely full of these moments. Each one builds upon the next, and I get to continuously experience them every day. I'll never get over how lucky I am for that.

But guess what? It's actually the fact that I get to share these discoveries with you that means the most to me. Yes, you! If I can do it, you can do it. And since I need to eat, and you need to eat, there's no reason I should be more informed about this human necessity than you are. I therefore feel an obligation to pass along this knowledge to as many people as possible, and I do it both gladly and eagerly. "Food is our common ground, a universal experience" after all... right, James Beard?

I felt similarly on the day I got to tell you that you can make your own Nut Butter at home, since it is something that is commonly only thought to be accessible in a store. But alas, it's not true! And today I feel the same way. Only today I'm telling you that you can make your own English Muffins. Standing there, in your PJ's, in your own home, makin' muffins. Yes, it's true!

This recipe has been on my 'must make' list for a while, and when I came across it recently on one of my favorite blogs Smitten Kitchen, I knew I had to finally check it off the list. It uses a cooking technique similar to an English Muffin recipe by Alton Brown (using tuna cans as molding rings to shape the muffins) but the ingredients are adopted from a Ruth Reichl recipe. The only ingredient I wanted to add but unfortunately forgot to buy at the store was cornmeal. My plan was to sprinkle it on each side of the muffin before cooking them on the griddle to get that nice, crunchy, hint of toasted corn flavor with every bite. But oh well, there's always next time, and now I know they are perfectly delicious without it too.

All I can really say is: sorry Thomas', but we've got your number now. I will pass by you at the store and give you a glance and a slight grin, but nothing more, and simply continue in stride.

Homemade English Muffins
Makes about 15 muffins

1/3 cup warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 1/2 teaspoons active dry yeast
3 tablespoons butter, melted
1 2/3 cup milk
1 egg
1 tablespoon salt
1 tablespoon white vinegar or lemon juice

5 cups all-purpose flour

Mix 1/3 cup warm water with 1 tablespoon sugar and 1 package active dry yeast in the bowl of a stand mixer. Melt 3 tablespoons butter in 1 2/3 cups milk. When cool, add to yeast mixture along with 1 egg, 1 tablespoon salt, and 1 tablespoon white vinegar. Add 2 1/2 cups flour and mix, at medium speed, 5 minutes. Add 2 1/2 cups more flour and mix well. Cover and let rise 1 hour.*

Preheat a griddle to 300 degrees F, or a heavy duty skillet to medium low heat.

Place metal rings or tuna cans (both tops and bottoms removed) onto the griddle and coat lightly with vegetable spray. Using #20 ice cream scoop**, place 2 scoops into each ring and cover with a pot lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and flip rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve.

* You can also mix this by hand, adding all of the flour at once and not for five minutes.
** Unable to figure out what size scoop this was, I can only caution you to not fill the ring more than halfway. It puffs plenty while cooking

Fluffy, steamy centers...

...turn into those nook and cranny crags you crave after a run in the toaster. More like butter capsules really.

Inspiration for a brunch to remember: Homemade english muffins smeared with butter, and topped with fresh radish slices, scallions, sea salt and lemon juice. An uncanny combination.
Swiss chard-goat cheese eggs and purple potato garlic hashbrowns to round it all out. Happy Easter! holy food coma

Simple, wholesome ingredients

Big discoveries

1 comment:

  1. GOOD GOD LIZZY BUTLER. These look incredible. I actually had an English muffin at Easter brunch this morning, and, at the time, thought it to be a rather stellar one. Sadly (or perhaps excitedly?) I was wrong, which I realize as my mouth waters looking at these pictures. Mmmmmmmm.