I eat English muffins every day, but it wasn’t until this past weekend that I finally tried making them from scratch. Now, thanks to Alton Brown, I know how to make big, tall, English muffins that remind me of the fancy mail order type my parents liked, Wolferman’s.
Of course things didn’t go as smoothly as planned….
The recipe is actually really simple, but Alton makes them on a griddle preheated to 300 degrees F. I don’t have a griddle and had to figure out what 300 was on the stove-top.
I didn’t quite nail that the first time.
Despite nearly setting off the smoke alarm, I was happy to see that the muffins rose like champs and even though the outside was charred, the inside looked like an actual English muffin. Woo hoo!
So I reduced the heat and switched from my heavy metal Viking pan to a non-stick pan with a bottom that wouldn’t get quite hot as the metal.
As for the rings, Alton calls for 3 inch rings and offers up tuna fish cans with the lids and bottoms cut off as an option. My idea was to make rings out of non-stick foil, and it worked! In fact, the rings were so durable I used them for all the muffins and couple probably use them again.
And finally, Alton’s recipe calls for powdered milk – an ingredient I hardly ever have. I took one reviewer’s advice and used 2% milk in place of the 1 cup of water. It worked out well.
Alton called for 2 cups of sifted flour but didn’t include a weight. I weighed out 9 oz of flour and that seemed to work. I also incorporated a little white whole wheat into the dough, which was like thick, gloppy, oatmeal, and it worked just fine.
This recipe worked well, but now I’m excited about trying different flavors (walnut, cinnamon raisins, bran) and experimenting with different doughs. Compared to recipes I saw on Allrecipes.com, this dough was a lot wetter, so it will be interesting comparing different recipes.
So here’s a link to Alton Brown’s English Muffin Recipe, and here’s my version with the actual milk, foil rings, and skillet.
1 cup reduced fat milk
1 tablespoon sugar
1 teaspoon salt (divided use)
1 tablespoon shortening
1 envelope dry yeast
1/8 teaspoon sugar
1/3 cup water
2 cups of flour (9 oz)
Heat milk in a microwave-safe measuring cup just until it boils. Add sugar and 1/2 teaspoon of salt and stir to dissolve. Stir in shortening and let cool to about 120 degrees F.
In a separate bowl or measuring cup, combine the yeast and 1/3 cup of warm (115 degree) water. Let rest until yeast bubbles (proof).
In a mixing bowl, combine the flour, yeast mixture and milk mixture. Beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in for 30 minutes in a warm place.
Preheat a lidded sauté pan or skillet to 300 degrees (on my stove, it was low). A pan with non-stick surface won’t cook the bottom quite so much, but if all you have is a regular metal bottom pan, you can use that. I didn’t grease either pan.
Add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to flour and beat thoroughly. Place metal (or homemade foil) rings onto the skillet.
Using a heaping 1/3 cup or a little less than ½ cup measure, spoon dough into rings, cover skillet cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and turn rings using spatula (Alton used tongs). Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Cool on a rack. Remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve.
Note: Make your own rings using non-stick foil or greased regular foil. Take a sheet an 11 by 11 inch sheet of foil and foil it over twice or just mold it until you have a stick that’s about 1 ½ inches high by 11 inches. Fold it into a 3 inch (ish) ring. Secure it with another little strip of foil wrapped around where the ends come together.