English Muffins

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After yesterdays wordy post I’m sort of all typed out.  So instead of a story, let’s just talk about making these muffins.

Well actually I have a very short story…these photos are not completely staged.  They were taken yesterday morning whilst I was getting ready for work and was eating a one of the muffins with grapefruit curd for breakfast.  If I run out of time for taking photos at the weekend then the only option, at this time of year, is to take photographs in the morning.  This is not ideal when you’re as slow to get out of bed in the mornings as I am.  I suppose I should be thankful it was muffins I had to photograph and not an apple pie or something!

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There are a few processes here but all very simple.  It just takes a little patience and a little aggression…for kneading the dough, nothing more sinister than that!  First we mix the ingredients, there are only six, then we knead for about ten minutes.

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After all that work you’ve totally earned a cup of tea.  There is at least an hour to kill so we can read a book or paint our nails whilst the dough rises.

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Then its time for rolling and cutting.

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And finally baking.  Watching the muffins rise and puff up whilst the cook is most therapeutic, I’m telling you!

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See, easy!

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English Muffins
recipe adapted from Delia Online

makes 10

450g strong white flour

1 teaspoon fast action yeast

1 tsp salt

1 tsps sugar

225ml milk, warm

2 tbsp water

Weigh out the flour in to a large bowl.  Add the yeast, salt and sugar – keeping the yeast separate from the other two.

In a jug, mix together the warmed milk and the water.

Whisk together the dry ingredients and make a well in the centre.  Pour in the milk and water mixture and stir until well combined.

Using your hand, start bringing the dough together in to a ball.  The dough should be moist but not sticky.  Add more water or flour if the consistency is not quite right.  Tip the dough on to the work top and knead for ten minutes.  I sort of press and stretch it with my knuckles and then roll it up on itself, over and over.  It should start to feel more elastic as you go.  After ten minutes, place the dough back in the bowl, cover it with cling film and leave in a warm place to double in size.  This should take an hour or two depending on the temperature.

When the dough has risen, and you’re ready for the next stage, prepare a baking tray by sprinkling it with a layer of semolina or polenta.  Remove the dough from the bowl and place on a lightly floured work top.  Knock the air out of the dough and roll out in to a rectangle-ish shape, about 1 cm thick.  Using a circular cutter about 7cm in diameter, cut out the muffins and place on the baking tray.  Lightly cover the tray with clingfilm again and leave to rise for a futher 30-60minutes until they have puffed up slightly.

Heat a griddle or solid based frying pan over a medium heat and coat the base lightly with olive oil.  Place 2-3 muffins on to the pan and turn the heat down to low.  Cook the muffins for 7 minutes on each side, until risen and gives a hollow sound when tapped.  Remove from the pan and allow to cool on a wire rack.