The next recipe in the Bread Baker's Apprentice agenda is English muffins. I pick these up at the grocery store from time to time, and I'd never given any thought to making my own. I normally pick the whole wheat ones, and initially planned to sub some whole wheat flour when I made them. I forgot to make the substitution, so mine were made with white flour.
To make English muffins, you simply make a basic bread dough, let it rise, divide it onto 6 supposedly equal pieces, let it rise again, and then cook them on a griddle. Who knew English muffins were made on a griddle?! Since I don't own a griddle, I stole borrowed one from my friend Susan. She's in New York for a wedding and I'm on cat patrol. I left some cinnamon crumb muffins in her freezer so I think she won't mind.
Peter Reinhart says to cook them on the first side until they're almost burned, but mine wouldn't get that browned even after I left them on the griddle 4 minutes longer than the recipe suggested. Next time, I won't do that since it made one side tougher than the other. After cooking on both sides, you finish them off in the oven. And then you have to wait 30 minutes before breaking in to them. Except I waited ten minutes and then attacked.
They were good! They had a much lighter texture than commercial English muffins, and a heady yeasty flavor that I loved. I think next time, I'll let them proof in the fridge over night to develop the flavor.
These were one of the most fun things I've ever made! They're very easy and reasonably fast. If you made the dough the night before and let it proof in the refrigerator, you could serve fresh English muffin sandwiches with eggs and cheese for breakfast...but I enjoyed mine with butter.
If you'd like to see more breads from our fantastic group of bakers, visit the Bread Baker's Apprentice Slow & Steady subgroup: Nancy (of Corner Loaf), Cathy (of The Tortefeasor), Audrey (of Food From Books), Jessica (A Singleton in the Kitchen), Melissa (of From Laptop to Stovetop), Kayte (ofGrandma's Kitchen Table), Sarah (of Blue Ridge Baker), Di (of Di's Kitchen Notebook), Margaret (of Tea and Scones) and Natalia (of Gatti Fili e Farina).
P.S.: I made these again after writing this post, but took them in a different direction. Instead of butter, I used orange olive oil, I subbed about 1/3 cup of whole wheat flour, and I used buttermilk this time. I made them 2.5 ounces so they wouldn't be such a big bready muffin. They were terrific! The olive oil adds a wonderful fragrance without making them oily (or even adding a detectable olive flavor). Now I want to try them again with hazelnut or walnut oil.