Sunday, March 24, 2013

English Muffins version 2

Bacon Eggs Benedict for Breakfast

Sunday morning notes to self:

  •  Ignore the outside thermometer and this morning's 32 F  weather.
  •  Ignore the frost on the deck and the dock and enjoy the sunshine.
  •  Ignore the TV weatherman and pretend that occasional snow flurries are routine Spring forecasts. 
  •  Enjoy Spring-in-a-Bucket on the kitchen table and be happy this is sunny Seattle, far away from the blizzards traveling across the midwest today.

All of the above were easy to accomplish with Bacon Benedict on our plates this morning. Homemade English muffins, easy blender Hollandaise (link), crisp bacon and perfectly poached eggs - oh, yum! All that was missing was some fresh asparagus, so I roasted a bunch and we enjoyed that at lunch with the leftover Hollandaise sauce.  

I do have a favorite muffin recipe (link), but haven't made any lately, settling instead for an occasional storebought package. Then I found some muffin rings on sale and couldn't wait to play with them. I experimented with a different English Muffin recipe last night and was eager to share the results this morning. This new recipe produced puffy, really puffy muffins. It might have been the super-enthusiastic sourdough starter I added to the listed ingredients, or perhaps I rolled the dough too thick or let it rise too long. Whatever the cause, these English muffins were overachievers height wise. They were light and delicious, with a slight tang from the sourdough, but oh! that's a lot of muffin.

When split with a fork the crusty exterior contrasted with a crumb that was soft and open, filled with plenty of crags and crevices to capture butter, jam or lemon sauce. I think that's what I love best about English muffins, the "good stuff" hangs on and doesn't slide off onto my shirt.

The remaining English muffins will be put to good use this week toasted at breakfast, used as a base for crab melts or mini pizzas, and possibly sliced into thirds or more and grilled as panini. Then I get to play with my new muffin rings for another batch.

English Muffins
yields approx 15-18

2 Tbsp warm water (110 F)
1 package active dry yeast
1/2 cup scalded milk, cooled to room temperature
1 cup water
2 tsp sugar
1 tsp salt
1/4 cup sourdough starter (optional)
4 cups AP flour (divided to add in two additions)
3 Tbsp melted butter
  1. Sprinkle the yeast on top of 2 Tbsp of water to soften. Heat the milk in a microwave until it bubbles; remove and let cool to room temperature.  In a large mixing bowl combine together the cooled milk, water, sugar, salt, yeast and sourdough starter if using. In several small additions gradually add 2 cups of flour and beat in. Cover with a cloth and let rise in a warm area until the dough doubles in size, approximately 1.5 hours.
  2. Beat in the softened or melted butter. Knead in the remaining 2 cups  flour until incorporated.
  3. Press or lightly roll dough to a thickness of  3/4" 1/2 " and cut out with muffin rings. Let stand on lightly greased baking sheet until dough has doubled in size. Transfer muffins onto a 340 F well-buttered griddle or electric fry pan. Remove muffin rings. Cook until light brown, about 7 or 8 minutes. Turn and cook on the second side until light brown. another 7 or 8 minutes.
  4. Optional Note: For my extra thick muffins I finished them in a 350 F oven on a nonstick baking sheet for an additional 8 minutes to fully cook the centers. 
  5. Cool on a baking rack. When ready to use, split with a fork along the horizontal to expose a rough surface that readily holds spreads and fillings. Using a knife will produce a smoother surface, less suited to grabbing the toppings.

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