For something that sounds so stylish, English Muffins are a surprisingly easy kind of bread to make.
Yes again contrary to their name, they are actually little discs of bread and different from the cup cake shaped items that the Americans refer to as muffins.
So why the gingerbread people prancing around, you ask? Well that was just me, Ms Itchy Fingers, who thought that circles were too tame and not exciting enough 😀
But purists, fret not. There also are a few in the shape that the inventor originally intended.
The beauty of English Muffins is that they can be cooked on a tava (griddle) and do not even need an oven. Which is somewhat a big deal in India where ovens are still not all that common an appliance in people’s homes.
English muffins have a texture that is full of nooks and crannies and this creates quite a bit of excitement for the butter or spread that is used, since it provides multiple destinations for it to slither into and hide, just before it slips out onto our palate and surprises us pleasantly 😀
English muffins can be leavened with commercial yeast or even sourdough and if you know me by now, you will definitely guess what I opted for 😎
So let us slide into the recipe just like the butter gently slides into the muffin.
English Muffins –
As I mentioned, these little circles of bread are relatively easy to make and they work as a very handy breakfast item that can be had toasted or sandwiched or topped with spreads or fillings of choice.
While regular refined/All purpose flour or bread flour can be used to make the traditional type, one can also get creative and use wholegrain or flour combinations too.
Being my first attempt, I have used bread flour since I had it handy. My next trial will definitely be whole grain.
Recipe for English Muffins –
The recipe is adapted from Little Spoon Farm
Ingredients for the dough –
Levain – 125 gm
Bread Flour – 360 gm (or regular flour)
Milk – 200 gm
Honey 30 gm
Orange zest – 1 teaspoon (optional) See Notes
Salt – 5 gm
Ingredients for the tray –
Rava (semolina) – 2 – 3 tablespoon (or cornmeal)
Place the ingredients into a KitchenAid bowl or any bowl and mix till incorporated.
Cover the bowl and set it aside for an hour, for the dough to autolyse.
Knead the dough in the KitchenAid Stand Mixer for 8 – 10 minutes until it is smooth and supple. Stop occasionally to scrape down the sides.
You can also knead by hand till you obtain a supple dough.
Roll the dough into a ball and coat it with some oil.
Lightly oil the bowl and place the ball in it. Cover it and allow the dough to rise till doubled. Mine took nearly 5 hours. The time will depend on various factors such as ambient temperature etc.
Place the bowl in the fridge and refrigerate overnight or upto a maximum of 2 days.
I proceeded by taking it out of the fridge the next morning and continuing the process right away with the chilled dough.
Flour the counter and roll or pat the dough into a 1 inch thick circle or rectangle.
Cut out 2 – 3 inch circles using a sharp cutter. I used an inverted steel bowl.
I also used my gingerbread cookie cutters since I wanted to make this really easy recipe a bit more exciting.
Put the remaining scraps together again and proceed till all the dough is shaped.
In the meantime, make sure you cling wrap the scraps of dough to prevent from drying out.
You can also shape the muffins by dividing the dough equally and rolling each portion in to a ball. Then flatten each ball into a 1 inch thick circle.
I found that reworking the remnant dough was not very comfortable, so the next time I will probably try the second method. Or better still, I will cut them into squares and avoid all scraps. After all, what’s in the shape 😀
Now sprinkle rava (semolina) on a flat tray and place the discs on it. The rava prevents the dough from sticking to the tray and also adds a nice crunch after frying.
Cling wrap the tray and allow the discs to proof until double in size. This took an hour in my kitchen.
To cook the muffins, use a non stick or cast iron skillet which has a large, flat base and also a lid.
Grease the pan (if you wish) and set it on a very low heat and place the discs on it.
Make sure to leave at least 2 inches space between them. Cover and cook for around 5 minutes on the lowest heat. If you raise the heat, the muffins will brown quickly on the outside, while remaining uncooked inside.
Flip over and cover and cook again for another 5 minutes or till sufficiently brown and puffed up.
Continue the process until all the muffins are cooked.
These muffins are sliced and eaten like sandwiches with a spread or filling of choice. I forgot to click a crumb shot this time but will do it next time.
The muffins can be stored for 4 – 5 days in the fridge in a zip lock or even sliced and frozen for 10 – 12 weeks in the freezer. Just toast them or reheat on a pan before eating.
Tip – do not slice them with a knife but tear them gently apart from the rim or separate them with a fork. This is to ensure that you get plenty of nooks and crannies which a knife might otherwise smoothen away.
I have used orange zest because I always have some in the freezer. You can play around with whatever you want to add.
I hope you will successfully try this recipe and I would really appreciate if you leave your feedback in the Blog comments.