English Muffins

muffins

I love English muffins. I love them slathered with salty butter and honey or stuffed with bacon, eggs, and cheese. The tangy, chewy dough and browned ends make me jump for joy.

muffins-mixer

I had never even thought to make my own until I went on a  baking frenzy recently and saw a recipe for them online. Who knew that these tasty little muffins were so easy to make?

muffins-rising

 

WARNING: Once you make these at home, you’ll have a pretty hard time eating the store-bought ones. They will pale in comparison to yours, I promise.

English muffins

yield: 6
2 1/4 cups flour (I used all-purpose but I bet you could switch in bread flour or whole wheat)
1/2 tbsp. sugar
3/4 tsp. salt
2 1/2 tsp. active dry yeast
1/4 cup water, (105-110°F)
1 tbsp. butter, at room temperature
1/2 to 3/4 cup milk, at room temperature
cornmeal, for dusting
Put the water in a large mixing bowl and sprinkle the yeast over it. Let it stand for 5 minutes—the yeast should look foamy and thicker. If not, throw it out and start over with new yeast.
Once yeast has proofed, stir in the flour, sugar and salt. Add the butter and 1/2 cup milk and stir the ingredients until it forms a ball. If the dough is too dry and you see loose flour, slowly add more milk. The dough should be soft and pliable.
Transfer the dough to a counter or workspace and knead for 10 minutes. If you need more flour along the way, go ahead and sprinkle a bit in. Just make sure not too add too much! The dough at this point should be a little tacky but definitely not sticky.
Place the dough in a lightly oiled bowl (I used the same one I mixed in) and turn to coat.  Cover with plastic wrap and allow to rise until doubled (about 60-90 minutes but it depends on how warm your kitchen is!).
Transfer the dough to the counter and divide into 6 pieces. Shape them into round rolls. Oil a baking sheet and sprinkle with cornmeal. Transfer the balls of dough to the sheet pan. lightly oil the tops and sprinkle with more cornmeal. Cover loosely with plastic wrap and allow to rise again, at room temperature, for another 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.
muffins-cooking
Heat your skillet/griddle to medium (also, preheat your oven to 350°F in case you need to finish the muffins in the oven—see below). Lightly oil the pan and carefully transfer the muffins to the pan using a spatula. Cook for about 10 minutes or until you can’t cook the dough any longer without burning. Flip and cook for another 10 minutes.
If they feel like they could use more time, pop them in the oven on a baking sheet.
Let cool on a rack for at least 30 minutes before devouring.

Deb’s Chocolate Orange Bread

Anyone who knows me knows I LOVE the Smitten Kitchen blog. My dear friend and I are going to a book signing and cooking demonstration at The Brooklyn Kitchen for Deb Perelman’s new cookbook. Can’t wait!

In honor of Deb’s new cookbook and the total geekdom that will spill out of me when I meet her next week, here is her recipe for chocolate orange bread. I slathered mine with butter and local honey, but that’s just me. 🙂

 

Chocolate Orange Bread

borrowed from Smitten Kitchen

1/2 cup warm water
2 1/2 teaspoons (1 envelope) active dry yeast
2 1/2 cups unbleached all-purpose flour (plus a little more for kneading)
1/4 cup unsweetened cocoa
3 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon finely grated orange zest
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
1/4 cup milk
1 egg

One 8 1/2 x 4 1/2 x 2 3/4-inch loaf pan, buttered

Combine warm water and yeast, set aside for 10-15 minutes to proof.

Sift all dry ingredients and orange zest in a bowl. Rub in butter until no longer visible. Add milk, egg and yeast mixture and stir to combine. At this point, you can add more flour if it looks too wet, but a little sticky is ideal. Transfer dough to lightly floured surface and knead until smooth and elastic, about 5 minutes.

Place dough in a buttered bowl, turning to coat. Cover with plastic wrap and set aside to rise until it’s doubled in size.

Turn risen dough onto a floured surface and press down to deflate. Stretch the dough into a rough rectangle. Fold into thirds and tuck the ends in. Place in buttered loaf pan, seam down. Cover with a buttered or oiled piece of plastic wrap and allow to double in size, about an hour.

While dough is rising, preheat oven to 375 degrees with the rack in the middle. Once dough has risen, place in oven and lower temperature to 350 degrees. Bake for 30-40 minutes, or until firm to the touch (190 degrees internal temperature). Unmold and place on baking rack until cooled.

bread