Monday, 25 March 2013

English muffins

I am not a huge bread snob. I am not a fan of the sliced stuff but I do buy some types of bread, I simply do not always have the time, or the inclination to make it myself.

When I do buy bread it tends to be from local bakers so less chance of absolute rubbish. Bread can be so delicious but disappointing bread is really really disappointing!

After a week of being ill I wanted something nice for a Saturday brunch and decided on English muffins with scrambled eggs and smoked salmon.

Still not feeling well I was going to buy the muffins, I had a quick nosey at the ingredient list and this is what I saw.

Wheat flour, water, yeast, maize, rice flour, salt, sugar, wheat gluten, vegetable oil, soya flour, emulsifier E472a, E471, Preservatives Calcium Propionate, E200, Acidity Regulator Tataric Acid, Flour Treatments Ascotrbic Acid (Vitamin C)

This seemed a lot of ingredients for a simple breakfast muffin. So I looked it up. This is what is in a homemade one.

Bread flour, water, milk, yeast, sugar, salt.

I do understand to make it to our shelves food needs certain preservatives but 3 times the amount of ingredients really put me off. So I dragged myself into the kitchen and actually these are really very very easy to make.

English muffins

makes 6

115ml milk
1 tsp dried yeast
1/2 tsp caster sugar
220g white bread flour
1/2 tsp salt

Gently warm the milk with 25ml water until warmed through. Do not heat it too much, you do not want to kill the yeast. If it does get a little too warm, leave to cool before adding to the yeast. 

Add the warm liquid to the yeast and sugar, whisk and leave for 10 minutes until frothy.

Mix the flour and salt then add in the frothy, yeasty liquid. You want a soft, not sticky, dough. You may not need all the liquid, or if your dough is really too sticky add a touch more flour.

Knead the dough for 10 minutes until smooth and pliable. Put in a bowl, cover and leave in a warm place, until doubled in size. Mine took ~ 1 hour.

Take the dough and, on a lightly floured surface, roll out to about 1 cm thick. Use a cutter 7-8cm in diameter to stamp out rounds. The trimmings can be squished back together, re-rolled and more muffins stamped out.

Pop the muffins on a lightly floured baking sheet and leave in a warm place for ~ 1 hour to rise and puff up.

Melt a little butter or lard in a heavy based frying pan and pop in your muffins. Turn the heat down to low and cook the muffins for 6 minutes on each side. You will probably need to cook the muffins in a couple of batches.

I made these on Friday afternoon and on Saturday split and toasted them for brunch. They tasted fab as part of brunch. I imagine they are lovely warm and fresh but I cannot say for sure.. I will have to make them again to be sure.

Sorry for the lack of pictures, I was really not with it when I made these!


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