“You have a propensity for danger, testing prototypes too early in their development. On multiple occasions this has nearly cost you your life………” My year 12 DesignTech school report
English muffins are probably my favourite breakfast. Freshly toasted with some bacon they are a great start to a long weekend. The problem is that as well as being a Doctor, I run a tea room, so anything I want to have a go at making tends to get sold…………… Cheers mum.
So when I said I was going to make muffins last Friday, it immediately got written as a special and by Sunday all 16 had been ordered even before we took the board out. The pressure was on to get it right!! Prototype to production in one leap.
Unlike normal bread, muffins use an enriched dough and are cooked on a hot plate and not in the oven. They are then split and toasted before serving.I’m not sure who can lay claim to inventing them but they are in my Mrs Beetons book. So let’s say they’re English
- 2lb. Strong bread flour
- 1oz. Caster Sugar
- 2oz Butter
- Yeast (solid and Brewers)
- 300ml Milk (50% full fat 50% water)
Start as ever by collecting all your ingredients together and brushing off the kitchenaid. Combine 1/4 of the flour with the Brewers yeast (if using) and allow to start fermenting (bubbles). In traditional terms this creates the “sponge” and adds a depth of flavour missing in shop bought bread.
Once established, combine the remaining flour, eggs, butter, sugar and salt in the kitchen aid. This will produce a very soft dough but it will stiffen up after about 10mins. If you’re going to kneed the dough by hand I would suggest covering your hands in oil first.
Once kneaded, you need to let the dough rest and proof, approx 1hr. I’m sure you can find something to distract you. Articles on space flight anyone?………….
Now that the sands of time have passed and your dough has approx doubled in size, turn the dough out onto a floured board. Being gentle, roll the dough flat to about 1″ thick and stamp out the English muffins. Transfer to a baking tray dusted with semolina and allow to proof again.
After another hour, your muffins will have doubled in size and look rather impressive. Its now just a case of cooking them. Unlike bread, muffins aren’t cooked in the oven but on a hot plate. I’m using the Aga but a heavy bottomed pan on a low heat will also work.
Cover your hot plate in semolina to prevent the muffins sticking and get started!! Cook for approx 5-7mins on one side then flip over. The size of the muffin really dictates the time, the larger they are, the longer it takes. Once turned, cook again for about 7 minutes then allow to cool on a rack.
Time for Breakfast.
So there you have it, English muffins from scratch. All that remains is to cut in half, toast and serve with whatever you want. You can just servewith some butter, but if bacon is an option…………….
Turns out I work rather well under pressure, good news for the career in transplant surgery I suppose…..