Thursday, May 2, 2013

English Muffins | Avid Bakers Challenge

English Muffins www.karenskitchenstories

Homemade English muffins have been on my list of breads to attempt. While I had made the recipe in Peter Reinhart's Bread Baker's Apprentice, I wasn't that happy with the results (sorry Peter). The dough seemed too firm  and dense for English muffins.

(I still do want to try the recipe from Artisan Breads Every Day. The dough in that recipe is so batter-like that you must use crumpet rings... shopping!)

English Muffins www.karenskitchenstories

This dough is very wet, but you can still manage to shape it by keeping a bowl of water nearby in which to dip your hands and your bench knife as you work. You need to be fairly comfortable working with dough, able to tolerate imperfections, and be willing to trust that it will all work out. That kind of sounds like a job announcement, doesn't it?  (I'm a recruiter)

Check out the photo of the dough when I first placed it on the griddle that I posted on my Instagram page. Kind of blobby, right?

I am thrilled with the results. These English muffins are crispy on the outside and super moist and soft on the inside. If you fork split them, you will get those elusive nooks and crannies for which English muffins are known.

Tools you will need:

  1. You will definitely need a stand mixer or a bread maker to mix the dough. There is no way to hand knead this bread. 
  2. A bench scraper is also really helpful for scraping the dough off of the counter and dividing the dough into individual pieces. 
  3. An electric or stove top griddle, preferably two, to accomodate 16 English muffins. Otherwise, you will have to fry the muffins in shifts. 
  4. Baking sheets and parchment paper to lay on top of the frying muffins so they don't turn into weird dinner rolls (see below). 
English Muffins www.karenskitchenstories

Let's do this!



English Muffins

Recipe adapted from King Arthur Flour (check out their blog post on this recipe. I heart +King Arthur Flour )

Ingredients

397 g/1 3/4 C lukewarm milk (I used 2 percent milk)
43 g/3 T softened butter
1 1/2 tsp salt
2 T sugar
1 large egg, lightly beaten
539 g unbleached bread flour (I used King Arthur Flour)
2 tsp instant yeast (I used SAF Red)
semolina flour for sprinkling on the griddle

Instructions

  • Add all of the ingredients except the semolina to the bowl of a stand mixer (you can also use a bread machine's knead function)
  • Stir the dough to combine the ingredients. 
  • Place the bowl in the stand mixer and, using the paddle attachment, beat the dough at medium-high speed for about five minutes. The dough should begin to release from the sides of the bowl and creep up the paddle attachment. The dough should be smooth and shiny.
  • Scrape the sides of the bowl with a bowl scraper and cover the bowl with plastic wrap. 
  • Allow the dough to rise for 1 to 2 hours, until it's quite puffy. Mine took 90 minutes. 
  • Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
  • Prepare the cold griddles. If they are non-stick, generously sprinkle (do not be shy) with the semolina flour. If they are not non-stick, spray them first with spray oil, and then sprinkle the semolina. 
  • Scrape the dough onto your countertop. Have a bowl of water nearby. 
  • Divide the dough with your wet bench scraper into 16 pieces. 
  • With wet hands, shape the dough pieces into balls, and then flatten them into 3 inch circles. They will not look perfect so don't get too crazy about this. Place the pieces on the cold griddles. They can be one inch apart. 
  • Sprinkle the tops of the dough pieces generously with the semolina. 
  • Cover the dough with parchment or wax paper and allow to rise for 20 minutes. 
  • Turn on the electric griddle to 325 degrees F, or, for the stove top griddle, turn the burners on to low. 
  • Cook the muffins for 7 to 15 minutes per side (the electric griddle took longer), until each side is browned. If they puff up too much, place a piece of parchment and a baking sheet on top of the muffins while baking the first side (see photo above). 
  • Once the muffins are browned on both sides, place them on cookie sheets and bake them for about 10 minutes in the oven, until the center reaches 200 degrees F. 
  • Allow to cool on a wire rack.
  • To freeze, wrap each muffin with plastic wrap, and place in a freezer bag. 
I am participating in the Avid Baker's ChallengeThis year, we are baking recipes from the King Arthur Flour website (which is always an excellent source for wonderful baked goods).  If you'd like to bake along, click this link for more information.

Submitted to Yeastspotting
Shared with #bakedwithlove

15 comments:

  1. You read my mind Karen with this recipe. Let me tell you they are some of the best looking homemade english muffins I have seen in a while! The baking sheet tip is priceless! I will be making these very soon.

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  2. Beautiful muffins. The dough I had wasn't at wet as your instagram picture, I guess that's all in the flour. But this makes them lovely and moist right?!

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  3. Very nice job, Karen! They look beautiful. Thanks for including the instagram picture. My dough is retarding in the fridge (made it last night in the bread machine). I checked it this morning and it had firmed up quite bit (it was very wet last night). Will be baking them later today :o)

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  4. These are the most beautiful English muffins I have ever seen! Downright perfect. My husband would love these - I just may have to give them a try.

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  5. Very nice! And you are absolutely right, one shouldn't be too anal about making smooth balls or evenly rounded discs, the dough is too sticky.

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  6. Your English muffins look delicious! Congrats!

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  7. The look perfect!

    Lori
    Whoneedsacape.com
    Not Your Average Super Moms!

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  8. I like the photos you posted -- I like seeing how the process worked out for others, not just the final product. And yes, those WERE blobby! But turned out perfectly. :D

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  9. I love English muffins so much I'm afraid if I make my own I won't want to eat anything else! They make the BEST sandwich, sorry sandwich bread, but it's true!
    Will share your post on my facebook page tomorrow Karen. They are just too pretty!

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    Replies
    1. Thanks Roxana! They make great pizza and tuna melts too.

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  10. Your muffins looks wonderful! Mine was puffy, but I do not mind at all, these muffins are great as sandwich bread! Love it!

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  11. You don't need a mixer...just take a hefty piece of cutlery and mix it really hard.

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  12. I love English muffins, there are great toasted and slathered with jam. I found this recipe of yours on bakedwithlove at Roxana's Home Baking.

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    Replies
    1. So nice to hear from you Laura! Thanks!

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I love comments and questions and read every one of them.