Sunday, 21 August 2011

English muffins

It would not be a blog about muffins if I did not bake and write about English muffins. In Britain they simply called muffins but to the rest of the world they are English muffins. Their name comes from times when an English baker who emigrated to America introduced them to the local people. They do not look like typical muffins, more like ugly bread rolls :). They are chewy and their taste reminds me about bagels. I like to eat them spread with butter and orange marmalade. They are classic base for egg Benedict. There are lots of recipes for English muffins, I think every baker have its own. This time I used Rachel Allen recipe published in cookbook 'Bake' and I was not disappointed.   

Ingredients for 10 muffins:
  • 500g strong white flour
  • 1 tsp salt
  • 350 ml milk
  • 2 tbsp caster sugar
  • 1 1/2 tsp dried yeast or 15g fresh yeast (I used fresh)
  • semolina for dusting
Heat up the milk in microwave until it is warm, then stir in the yeast and sugar. Set aside for 5 min until the mixture is frothy. 
In a meantime sift the flour and salt into big bowl. Pour milk into dry ingredients. Knead the dough with hand or electric mixer with  dough hook for 6-8 min. The dough should change into springy ball. Place the dough into an oiled bowl, cover with cling film and leave in warm place for 1 hour or until it has doubled in size. 
After that time knock back the risen dough and knead with hands another 2-3 minutes. The dough should look like the one on the picture. Sprinkle the work surface with semolina and place the dough on it. Cover with an upturned bowl and leave for further 30 min. Without knocking back the dough, roll it into a log about 20 cm long (second picture). Then slice it into 10 pieces 2 cm each (third picture). Place each slice on dusted with semolina work surface (fourth picture). Dust the top of each muffin with semolina and using your palm flatten them slightly so they are about 1.5 cm high. Cover again with tea towel and leave to rise for about 30 min. Meanwhile heat up the pan, Rachel Allen recommends heavy cast-iron grill pan or frying pan, I had Teflon frying pan. When the pan is hot, reduce the heat to very low and cook the muffins (sixth, seventh picture). When they are cooked, they will be golden brown on both sides (mine were too brown but still tasty)  and will sound hollow when tapped on the base. Remove cooked muffin from the pan and wrap in paper towel so they will not get too crusty (eight picture). When they cooled down remove form the paper towel and place in bread box.

Serving suggestion something like egg Benedict
Serving suggestion with marmalade

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