Sunday, February 6, 2011
Muffins the British Way
There are many many things on my cooking to-do list (bagels, homemade nutella, apple chips, roasted duck...). English muffins have been on that list for a far too long. Crusty exterior, soft and chewy interior with plenty of "nooks and crannies" for jam to melt into - what's not to love! So, when I saw that this month's "A Worldly Epicureans Delight" (AWED) theme was British food, I knew it was a sign that the time to make English Muffins had finally come!
As many readers know, I(Ashlie)'m now gluten free, so I didn't get to partake in the consumption of these lovelies, but it gave me great pleasure to make them and to watch Alfred slather them with raspberry jam for tea time! He assures me that they tasted perfectly authentic - I can attest that they looked and smelled the part!
A note on the jam Alfred used - I found a great line of French jams that are sweetened with fruit juice. The brand is called St. Dalfour. Alfred is a jam fanatic, but I don't let him have it very often, unless I make it for him with natural sweeteners. When I found these naturally sweetened jams on sale I decided to get them for him as a special treat for Valentine's Day, but I'm really awful ate keeping gifts tucked away until the holiday actually arrives. So far he has tried black cherry, fig, and raspberry pomegranate. His favorite was the cherry!
1 Cup of Buttermilk, warm*
2 1/4 teaspoons Yeast
1 Tablespoon of Oil
1 Tablespoon of Honey
1 1/4 Cups of Unbleached Bread Flour (or All-Purpose)
1 Cup Whole Wheat Flour
1 teaspoon of Sea Salt
3/4 teaspoon of Baking Soda
* If you don't have any buttermilk or want a vegan alternative, combine 1 Cup of regular or non-dairy milk and 1 tablespoon of vinegar or lemon juice.
1) Combine the buttermilk, yeast, oil, and honey. Set aside for about 10 minutes to proof, until it is very bubbly.
2) In a large bowl, combine the flours, salt, and baking soda.
3) Once the yeast mixture is bubbly, add it to the flour mixture and stir until a very soft dough forms. Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface, and knead briefly (about 2 minutes), just enough to shape the dough into a ball - you want the dough to remain very soft in order for the nooks and crannies to form properly. Place the dough into a lightly greased bowl, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise in a warm place until it doubles (60 - 90 minutes).
4) Line a large baking sheet with foil, light oil the foil. Set this aside.
5) Sprinkle a surface generously with cornmeal, and turn the dough out onto it. Cut the dough into 8 equal pieces. Use your hands to gently coax the pieces into rounds (they don't have to be perfect - this is more for aesthetics than taste). Dust the tops of the pieces with cornmeal. Transfer the dough pieces to the foil lined baking sheet - leaving ample space between the pieces as they will double in size while rising. Cover the baking sheet with plastic wrap. Place in a warm place (I placed them in my oven, which was turned off but was slightly warm thanks to the pilot light), and let rise until doubled in size (30-45 minutes).
6) Heat a large skillet (I used 2 to speed things up) over low heat (other recipes said medium-low, but I found low heat to work better). Lightly coat the skillet(s) with oil. Working in batches if necessary - you don't want the muffins to touch one another - cook the muffins 8-10 minutes per side until golden brown. To serve, split the muffins open, toast them if you wish and spread with your choice of toppings: butter, jam, and lemon curd are all traditional British options. In my bread eating days, peanut butter and honey was always a favorite! You could also use the muffins to make yourself a tasty egg sandwich or eggs benedict if you're feeling particularly fancy!
For lots of other tasty British recipes, head over to Reva's blog Kaarasaaram!
As usual, I've also included this post as part of several weekly recipe sharing events: Midnight Maniac Meatless Mondays , Making Monday Marvelous, Just Something I Whipped Up, My Meatless Mondays, Just Another Meatless Monday, Slightly Induglent Tuesday, Tempt my Tummy Tuesday, Tasty Tuesdays , Tuesdays at the Table, Real Food Wednesdays, Whatcha Makin' Wednesdays, Full Plate Thursday, Friday Foodie, and Friday Favorites. Check out all the great recipes other bloggers have contributed!