Thursday, August 26, 2010

I don't like English muffins.

I was curious to see if I could do this, that's all.  *sigh*  They don't taste bad, but they got a little burnt....note to self: don't ever reach for the spray oil out of convenience....because it's olive oil at my apt.  *face palm* 

Recipe (again, from The Bread Baker's Apprentice):
2 1/4 c unbleached bread flour
1/2 tbsp granulated sugar
3/4 tsp salt
1 1/4 tsp instant yeast (Since I was near the end of a bottle, I may have been too lax w/ this ingredient...hence the puffiness.)
1 tbsp shortening/unsalted butter (I used the latter.)
3/4- 1 c milk/buttermilk at room temp.  (I ended up using ~7/8 c skim milk...not enough buttermilk in the house.)
cornmeal for dusting

1. Stir the flour, sugar, salt and yeast together in a bowl.  Add butter and 3/4 c milk until the dough forms a ball.  If there's excess flour, add the rest of the milk.  The dough should be soft.

2. Knead dough on floured surface for 10 min.  Spray oil into a bowl and roll the ball of dough around in it.  Cover with plastic wrap.

3. Ferment for 60-90 min, or until dough doubles in size.  (I did 60 min.)

4. Divide the dough into 6 equal pieces, 3 oz each.  (This is where a scale comes in handy.  I weighed them all, but did not feel like making all of them perfectly equal.)  Shape pieces into boules.

5. Prepare baking pan by lining with parchment paper.  Spray the parchment paper with oil and sprinkle cornmeal on it.  Place boules on parchment paper, sprinkle cornmeal over them, and cover with plastic wrap.

6. Proof for 60-90 min, or until boules double in size.

7. Heat skillet/flat griddle to 350 degrees, or medium heat.  (Hint: on my electric stove, this turned out to be WAY too hot.  And the olive oil spray did it no favors.)  Fry balls of dough, 5-8 min. per side.  The dough is supposed to flatten out, but it never did for me.  (Keep uncooked balls covered w/ plastic wrap.)  Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

8. Bake muffins for 5-8 minutes on sheet pan.  (The recipe states to bake muffins as you cook them---in other words, don't wait for all of them to be fried.  I ignored this and made the entire batch at once.)

9. Separate muffins with a fork; supposedly this creates the nice air pockets that are characteristic of English muffins.  I didn't see that at all.  :(

On a much happier note, I am friends with a baker at the Seelbach Hotel, and he's promised to give me tips on baking!  I will pass them on to you all once I see him again.  

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