Thursday, March 11, 2010

English Muffins...just the beginning

I've joined a new challenge! The Real Food Challenge over at Not Dabbling in Normal. The challenge is to get more real foods into your life and is going on for the month of March. A lot of challengers are attempting all "Real" food for the month, but I am not yet ready for that leap. My commitment is to learn to make a lot of bread/grain products myself. I can bake a loaf of bread in my bread maker that is decent, but I want to really master a loaf of bread for my family. I also want to learn to make tortillas, which we eat a lot of in this house. I added to my list English muffins, bagels and crackers because those are other things that we sometimes buy and I would like to cross off my shopping list forever.

I started last week with a decent loaf of bread in my bread maker just to get me biggest problem with my homemade bread is cutting it. When I slice the bread, it crumbles and is all different sizes and doesn't work too well for sandwiches that aren't eaten at home on the plate ( school lunches =( ). Does anyone know what I'm doing wrong? So onto the first real trial in my challenge, I made English muffins. My mom had been talking about wanting some for a few weeks and I didn't think she had bought any yet, so off to work I went. I found a recipe that seemed so simple that I figured something had to be wrong, but hey what the heck it had so little ingredients I figured if I messed up I wouldn't be wasting too much. Here it is:

1 1/2 cups warm water
2 tsp yeast
2 cups bread flour
1 tsp sugar

Mix well, cover and set aside for 2 -12 hours (the longer the better) - I sat mine aside overnight for about 14 hours

Next add:
1 cup flour
2 1/2 tsp salt

Mix well and set aside for 30 minutes

Heat griddle over med. heat for several minutes (add a smidge of butter if non stick)

Place muffin rings on hot griddle and fill 2/3 with batter

Cook on the first side for 5 minutes until bubbles come through and bottom is slightly browned

Flip and cook about 2 minutes, then remove the ring and finish cooking until browned.

Doesn't this sound simple? It was! I will not say I made a perfect batch, but they were tasty.

The problems I did have:
1. I had no muffin rings or cookie cutters to use to shape the muffins, so.....before I let the final dough rise, I used a sprouting jar lid and shaped the batter into circles and let rise that way.

2. I didn't have corn meal to use when shaping up the muffins, so they had a little flour on the outside as opposed to a corn meal dusting

3. I am crazy about things not cooking enough or being well done so I pushed down my english muffins while they were cooking and made them too flat ( I do the same thing with pancakes, I have to stop!)

But despite these issues, they had great holes and crannies, they had that English Muffiny taste and they were a big hit with my family. My sister came over to try one ( she only lives a block away so she can travel easily for food) and ate hers on the way home with no butter, jam, etc and said it was great! I know this isn't a recipe chock full of health, but it's definitely still better for you than the ones bought from the store and it really is that easy!


  1. Try adding some vital wheat gluten to your sandwich bread. It holds it together better when you cut it. I posted my bread recipe here

    I swear by the gluten. Makes such a huge difference.

    Very cool to make English muffins - I want to give it a try sometime too!

  2. I just picked up some gluten the other day and did bake a loaf with it yesterday. I didn't know that was the trick though, thanks!!