Vegan, Jane Austen student, Minimalist, Reader, Librarian

Thursday, September 23, 2010

English Muffins

I love bread (who doesn't, right?). But, growing up, I did not like English Muffins. My mom bought them because she enjoyed them. She bought Thomas' brand and I thought that was the only kind. They tasted like cardboard to me. Then I found Bay's and, while better, they still didn't taste that great, unless they were really, really toasted & smothered with butter.

After going vegan, I discovered that Food for Life made English Muffins from sprouted grains and I was hooked! These were hearty, tasty & moist. They tasted good both toasted & buttered as well as a sandwich bread substitute.

I told you before that Jim likes to try new things in the kitchen. Well, while browsing new books at the Mount Lebanon Public Library a few weeks ago, he came across a new bread book: The River Cottage Bread Handbook by Hugh Fearnley-Whittingstall. In a very British witty style, the author describes techniques and recipes for popular breads all over the world: tortillas, roti, crumpets, and English Muffins.

We discovered that English Muffins are made on a skillet, thus the nice brown bottoms you see on these breads in the market.

So Jim made them. And we ate them. They take a little time to make but making our own bread is one of our ways of reducing packaging, mostly the plastic bags that breads always come in.

And they are delicious!

4 C white bread flour (Jim uses 2 C white bread flour & 2 C whole wheat white flour)
1 1/2 tsp instant yeast
2 tsp sea salt
1 1/3 C warm water
Drizzle of sunflower oil
Semolina flour for coating before cooking

Mix flour, yeast, salt, & water in a large bowl to form sticky dough. Add oil, mix it in, then turn onto a work surface & knead until smooth.

Shape into a round, coat with a little extra oil, then place in a clean bowl. Cover and let rise until doubled.

Turn dough onto work surface and knead lightly. Divide into 9 pieces, shape each into a round, and flatten to 3/4 inches. Dust with semolina flour. Cover and let rise on work surface until doubled.

Heat a large skillet over medium high heat. Lay muffins in the pan and cook for a minute or two, then turn and continue to cook for a further 10 minutes, turning occasionally. Make sure the heat isn't too high to brown them too fast; lower if it is. Cool on a wire rack.

These muffins can be frozen for later use, just make sure to double bag them.

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