Did you know there is absolutely no comparison between store-bought English muffins and homemade? They are completely two different entities in the foodie world. Of course one only costs you a couple of bucks and zero time and effort. The other one is a bit of an odyssey but hey, I am always up for a little foodie adventure.
I picked up the book Beautiful Breads and Fabulous Fillings by Margaux Sky from the library because I love sandwiches. I agree with Joey from Friends, in my world they are a food group. I wanted to see if her sandwiches really were the best. There are a lot of complex and fascinating loaves of bread in this book but I wanted to start off simply by making the English muffins.
Every time I get out my container of yeast I get excited and when I saw that we were working with a whole tablespoon, I realized that this was going to be a bit of a monster of a recipe. I thought I could make it all by hand but quickly changed to my mixer, there is no way I can incorporate eight cups of flour by hand!
So, in a large bowl add 1 tbsp of yeast.
Melt 1/2 cup of butter which is one stick. Warm up 1/2 cup of water and 2 cups of milk. Not too hot though! Just remove the chill and get it to body temperature. In the large bowl with the yeast, add the warm water and milk and let sit for around 5 minutes. Yeast should dissolve and get foamy. Add the butter, 2 beaten eggs, 1/2 cup of icing sugar and mix well. In a very large bowl, whisk together 8 cups of flour and 1 1/2 tsp of salt.
This is where I changed things up a little since I was using my mixer. I decided to add the flour and salt slowly to the yeast mixture, not the other way around. I did this on my mixer slowly but did not add all the flour. I did not want the flour to get too dry and tough:
It was still very moist and lovely at this point and I was ready to knead.
Yes! I kneaded the dough for four minutes, so proud of myself.
Using a 3″ round cutter (mine might have been a 4″ cutter, hmm…) I cut the dough into rounds, put them on baking sheets, covered them and let them rise for an hour. I greased up a griddle and warmed it up on medium low heat. Last year I made a whole wheat version and had the heat too high and burned them. I was determined to not let that happen again! You have to cook these 7 minutes per side so you better not have the griddle too hot.
The only problem is along the side I could see the dough was still raw. They were perfectly golden on the top but raw in the middle. I put them in a 325F oven for ten minutes which finished them off perfectly.
I could not wait to cut them up, slather then with apricot jam and a little butter. So delicious! Using icing sugar was genius, the subtle sweetness in the bread is breathtaking. Light as a cloud, these are the perfect English muffin.
The recipe says it make 8 muffins but I had at least 12 when I was done. I actually let the dough rise and then put one of the baking sheets in the freezer. I took them out when they were frozen and put them in a Zip-loc bag separated by parchment paper. Now whenever I want fresh English muffins I will thaw and grill them when I want them.
If you try making this in the breadmaker I suggest making half a batch. If you let it make this dough I can promise you with eight cups of flour it will try and break out of the machine!
Yes, it is a lot more work to make them yourself but I am telling you if you are going to eat carbs, eat delicious the most delicious carbs you can make yourself.