Sunday, August 2, 2009

english muffins - bread baker's apprentice challenge #12

This weeks bread bakers apprentice challenge, English muffins, was yet another bread I've never attempted. For various reasons I suppose, but the biggest was probably my lack of understanding how easy these goodies are to make. It also didn't help that it took many years for me to develop an appreciation of English muffins. Until my early 20's I just didn't taste the same thing everyone else did. Even after those late booze filled nights, I would be curing my hangover with hot cakes while my friends were devouring piles of sausage McMuffins.

The ingredient list is small and comes together very quickly. So quickly in fact that after a disappointment of kneading my first batch (more on that later), it was just as quick to put another batch together. Heck if 6 muffins are good, 12 are better right? Without a real idea of how hot my cast iron would be (looking for 350) I contemplated how to cook these bad boys off. I remembered an old skillet stored downstairs at the homestead, and quickly searched it out for a test run. With everything working up to snuff, it was time to rock and roll. I tried to use a spatula like Peter suggests to move the dough, but it just seemed to stick and would have torn/deflated if I continued to hack away. For me, I decided to lift the parchment paper at an angle and let the muffins fall into my hand. Worked like charm.

I didn't want to crowd the skillet so I only baked four off at a time. Peter directs you to bake off each side in the skillet for 5-8 minutes. I went right to the 8 minute mark and even then some of the muffins weren't as golden as one might expect. You then move the muffins to the oven for another 8 minutes at 350, before cooling on a rack.

The biggest difference came from my two batches. I included the minimum amount of water in my first go around, and even after mixing in more water it felt dry. I didn't want to work the dough forever, so that was the reason for batch 2. It was wetter, smoother, and produced a different shaped English muffin. The drier dough did not sag as much when being placed on the skillet, and maintained rounder, baseball style shape. The wetter version sagged nicely and settled into a more expected result.

The muffins were better than any store bought version. They were toasted, used to make mini PB & banana sandwiches, egg mcmuffins, and even this steak and caramelized onion version. Definitely something I would make again, or add to brunch offerings instead of toast.

6 comments:

Sarah said...

salivating, as per usual. These are beautiful!

Chris said...

Thanks!

Teagan said...

Delish! The english muffins that survived until camping were toasted over a Coleman stove with lots of butter and syrup. Soooo good!!

Sarah said...

Wait a second...baked goods, the girlfriend of our tattoo artist. What are you trying to pull Falconer??? More importantly, where are MY english muffins? Hmmmm?!!! :D

Chris said...

I'm glad there were successful Teagan, and during camping to boot. Sounds wonderful.

Sarah - I have to spread the baking around. You'll be getting some more.

Sarah said...

SHENANIGANS!

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