English Muffins

17 May

I like having a toasted English muffin with some peanut butter and a glass of milk for breakfast. When shopping the other day I checked the ingredients list before tossing that familiar cardboard and plastic sleeve in my cart. I was appalled by the list of chemicals and artificial ingredients in those simple little muffins. I had been thinking about baking my own for a while, but that settled it. This recipe was pretty time consuming, but the muffins are so tasty that it’s definitely worth it.

I found a recipe on the Life in Recipes blog and modified it slightly. I bought some graham flour a few weeks ago, and was looking for something to use it in so I used that too. I didn’t notice a different flavor, so next time think I’ll use a full cup and see that that does.

Whole Wheat English Muffins
1/4 cup warm water
1 tablespoon active dry yeast
1 cup warm water
2/3 cup milk
2 tablespoon honey
1 teaspoon salt
2 cups white whole wheat flour

3 tablespoons olive oil
1 1/2 cups white whole wheat flour
1/2 cups graham flour
2 tablespoons cornmeal – or enough to scatter on pan

First you make the sponge. Dissolve the yeast in 1/4 cup water. It’s easy to do this in a glass measuring cup. In a large bowl, combine the 1 cup of warm water, the honey, the milk and the salt. Add yeast mixture and 2 cups of flour. Stir to combine, cover and leave in a warm place for at least an hour. It will puff up and become very bubble. This is what mine looked like after an hour.

Add the oil and mix in the rest of the flour, bit by bit. I had to switch to my hands towards the end. Eventually I had a smooth but slightly sticky dough.

Dust a cookie sheet with cornmeal. Roll the dough out to about 1/2 an inch, then cut with a round cutter. I’m not sure how big mine was. I have a set and I picked the one that looked English muffin-sized! Place the rounds onto the cookie sheet and allow to rise again until puffy and almost doubled in volume. Mine took a while to rise, and I ended up turning the oven on for a few minutes and setting them in there. I think my kitchen was too cold! Here they are nice and puffy. I ended up with 20 muffins, but some of them were too thin, I think.

Next you cook them on a griddle or in a skillet. I used a non-stick skillet. I had a hard time transferring the muffins from the cookie sheet to pan, and they ended up deflating quite a bit. I think this is why they didn’t really have the nooks and crannies that an English muffin is supposed to have. They do puff back up while they are cooking, which is fun to watch! Let them brown on the first side before flipping them over. This takes a few minutes.

After the muffins have been “griddled” they will need to finish cooking in an oven. As you take them off the stove, put them on a different cookie sheet and then bake in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes. Here they are ready for the oven.

My friend Monet, who just made some English muffins of her own, which she describes on her blog Anecdotes and Applecores, says they should cool for 30-60 minutes. I couldn’t wait and ate them straight out of the oven!

I made these a few days ago and we have been enjoying them at least twice a day since then. We’ve had them toasted with butter and local honey, had them with some chicken barley soup last night, and today James used them to make delicious egg, bacon and cheese breakfast sandwiches. They are hearty and wonderful. I’ll never buy packaged ones again!

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