Piece of life
I don’t recognize myself anymore in English cuisine. I have this nostalgic memory of visiting Marks & Spencer with my mother; we used to buy mince pie, cheesecake and English muffins. More recently [maybe a few years ago at least], I also discovered the crumpets, I loved them, and soon I’ll tell you about them.
About English muffins
English muffins, I often buy them! I had never ventured to make them by myself; this had never crossed my mind. Then, I saw a recipe from Jamie Oliver, and I realized that there was nothing complicated in it. It consists of simple yeast dough. The slight difference from the usual recipes [of bread or brioche] is that the baking starts in the pan and ends up in the oven. So, I started from this recipe and adjusted it to my taste.
This bread is another slight difference: it is coated with cornmeal or polenta. It is not essential, but it somehow allows us to manipulate them when baking quickly, and it gives them a little crust that turns their charm on.
When you say yeast dough, you say rising time [there are two]. To have fresh muffins for breakfast, you have to be organized.
I start to prepare the dough at the end of the day before, let it rest aside for 1 to 1.5 hours until the dough has doubled in volume. After this, I separate the dough into 12 parts and shape them into balls that I flatten the top out. I place them on a baking sheet covered with parchment paper and sprinkle some polenta. I cover them with polenta on each side. After, I set the dough pieces aside for 30 min, and then I place the plate as it is in the refrigerator for the night, covered with a food film.
The following day it takes me nothing other than baking the English muffins to taste them fresh in the breakfast.
The muffins are initially cooked in a pan, traditionally in butter. I use a butter/oil mixture, but it’s up to you to do it how you prefer.
When I prepared the bread, they were not regular. I wondered what to do to get their characteristic shape. There is nothing to do; they took their shape naturally during the cooking in the pan!
I didn’t test them yet, but some ideas vary: mix white and whole grain flour, replace the baker’s yeast with sourdough, and play with the milk and water proportions. I’ll test these very soon and update you about it.
The whole family unanimously approved the recipe. Out of the 12 small pieces of bread, no more than three were left. Next time, I will double the recipe!
English muffins (inspired by Jamie Oliver)
- 500 g flour
- 160 ml water warm
- 160 ml milk warm
- 18 g fresh baker's yeast (or 7g dry yeast)
- 20 g sugar
- 25 g butter melted
- 8 g salt
- polenta (optional)
- butter and/or oil
- Mix the warm water and milk. Dissolve the yeast in this mixture.
- Equip the mixer with the baking hook. In its bowl, mix the flour, the sugar and the salt. (if you don't a mixer, you can do it by hand)
- Add the water/milk/yeast mixture and the melted butter.
- Knead at slow speed until you get a homogeneous and elastic dough (about 10 min).
- Cover it with a clean cloth and keep it aside in a warm place for 1 to 1h30, or until it has doubled in volume.
- Cover a baking sheet with parchment paper, sprinkled with polenta (optional).
- Deaerate the dough, then cut it into 12 pieces of equal weight (approximately).
- Shape them into balls. Place them into the sheet, and cover both sides with polenta. Slightly flatten them out with your hand.
- Keep them aside again for 30-45 min (at this point I cover the baking sheet with food film and place it in the refrigerator overnight, this allows me to bake the muffins the same morning and have them fresh for the breakfast).
- Preheat the oven to 180°C (350°F).
- In a frying pan, melt down a knob of butter with a drizzle of oil. Place 2 to 3 balls of the dough (depending on the size of your frying pan) and cook them for about 5 minutes. Gently turn over the muffins and cook on the other side for another 5 minutes. Place the muffins in the oven for 10 minutes. Repeat this step with the remaining dough pieces.