It's been several years since I've made English muffins from scratch
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Today, I decided, that was way too long
If you think about it, they're by far one of the most pleasing and versatile bread to have around. Perfectly sized for burgers, sandwiches, or toast. Slice them in half to make melts or spread your favorite something on top.
And really, with sandwiches or canvases for special jams, the magic is in the bread. You can put just about anything on top of or between two slices of bread, but if it isn’t good (i.e., soggy, rough, stale, ack!), the allure is lost.
A couple of weeks ago my husband and I played hookey from life went on a day-long Des Moines date to shop at new grocery stores, drink wine, and visit places that have been on our want to visit list. So much fun on a late summer Saturday
The Cheese Shop was one of our stops. What a cool place! They let you sample with reckless abandon, leaving you wanting to take some of every kind home. As he waited to pay, I spied a small jar of fig jam and did a sly slide into our stash. He smiled.
Not long after he said, “I'm craving breakfast sandwiches. Let's make a deal. If you do the bread, I've got the rest?”
The only recipe I'd ever played with was from The Bread Baker's Apprentice, which good, but very much all-purpose flour based. Eh ..
Wanting something easy enough to share that wouldn't require Kitchen Aid mixers with dough hooks or hours of kneading, I turned to my tried and true Healthy Artisan Bread in Five Minutes a Day looking for a flavor combo
A slight bit of internal angst centered around the technique. Would any kind of dough lend itself to the process Reinhart describes? Essentially creating small balls of poofy dough that are then cooked on a griddle until each side is browned, the dough flattening naturally.
If all goes terribly awry, I'll make a loaf of instead. No worries, nothing to see here.
In the end, my worry was for naught. They turned out perfectly
The whole wheat dough with the slight honey sweetness, crusty on the outside, and squishy on the inside.
I report, fig jam is absolutely delicious
My husband's breakfast sandwiches, of course, are incredible
~ Adapted slightly from Healthy Artisan Bread in 5 Minutes a Day
Honey Graham English Muffins
- 2 cups graham flour (whole wheat pastry flour)
- 2 cups + 2 Tbsp all-purpose flour (I used a blend of ½ white and whole wheat flours)
- ½ Tbsp ground cinnamon
- ¾ Tbsp (or 1 packet) granulated yeast
- ½ Tbsp kosher salt
- 2 Tbsp vital wheat gluten
- 1 ¾ cups lukewarm water
- 6 Tbsp honey
- 3 Tbsp grapeseed oil (or any other neutral oil)
- Mix together the flours, cinnamon, yeast, salt, and vital wheat gluten in a large bowl using a whisk or a wooden spoon.
- Add the liquid ingredients and incorporate it completely into the dry ingredients using a spoon, food processor, or mixer with a dough hook
- Cover the bowl (or container) and allow the dough to rest at room temperature until it rises and collapses, about 2 hours. (At this point, you could refrigerate the dough for at least 24 hours and up to 7 days.)
- Sprinkle a work surface with flour and a long sheet of waxed paper with cornmeal. Punch down the dough and move to the floured surface.
- Cut the dough into 12 pieces. Roll each piece into a ball and place on the waxed paper, leaving 3" between the muffins. Slightly flatten each round and sprinkle with cornmeal.
- Cover and let rise 30 minutes or until they have about doubled in size.
- Preheat the oven to 350° F
- Heat a greased griddle over medium heat. Gently brush excess cornmeal off muffins and place on the griddle, cooking until a deep golden brown, 5 to 7 minutes on each side. Place on a baking sheet and bake for 5 minutes or until the edges feel firm.
- Cool on wire racks and toast before serving.
- (A dusting of cornmeal and a turn on the griddle give English muffins their signature crunch)