Saturday, February 11, 2012

English Muffins

These are great! It's amazing to be able to make English Muffins at home. So many store bought english muffins have high fructose corn syrup, soy products, bleached flour, etc. Even if they don't have those ingredients, they still have preservatives and way too many odd ingredients. So here is the answer, make them at home! You can make these the day before. Don't make the mistake I did the first time and start them at 9am on Saturday morning...yeah, it was noon before breakfast was ready. When I read through the directions completely and saw that the batter needed to sit for an hour, I let the kids have a bowl of cereal while they waited. Once they were finally done though, they were wonderful!
This recipe is a variation of Alton Brown's recipe from Food Network.

Ingredients:

1 tablespoon sugar
3/4 teaspoon salt
1 tablespoon non-hydrogenated vegetable shortening
1 cup hot organic milk
2 1/4 ts dry active yeast
1/8 teaspoon organic sugar
1/3 cup warm water
2 cups  white organic whole wheat flour (unbleached unbromated un-enriched, you could probably use whole wheat too), sifted
Non-stick vegetable spray
Muffin rings, or mini tart rings, or wide-mouth canning lids


In a bowl combine the hot milk (heat in a pot until steaming but don't let it boil), 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/4 teaspoon of salt, and shortening. Stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool. In a separate bowl combine the yeast and 1/8 teaspoon of sugar in 1/3 cup of warm water and rest for 10 minutes. Add this to the milk mixture. Add the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and let it rest in a warm spot for 45-60 minutes, longer means more nooks and crannies!!!
Preheat a skillet, you want it on about medium low, my electric stove does them perfect at "3", and brush the bottom of skillet with a thin coat of oil. Cook one muffin as a tester muffin before filling your skillet with as many rings as you can. Because the muffins cook for 6 minutes per side, they are easy to burn. You want a temperature that will allow the outsides to brown nicely while the insides are just cooked.
Once your dough has rested, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Coat the metal rings with vegetable spray and place them on the skillet. Using an ice cream scoop, place 1 scoop of batter into each ring and cover with a lid or cookie sheet and cook for 5 or 6 minutes.  Remove the lid and flip rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 or 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a cooling rack, remove rings and cool. Split with fork and serve. Do make sure you split with a fork or you won't have nooks and crannies!
Note: I only had two rings so I cooked two muffins to start, covered them with a small lid, then flipped them and removed the rings so I could start two more. I didn't cover the first two with the small lid again, just covered the skillet with a lid and put the small lid on the two new muffins I was starting. Looks like this (minus the big lid on the skillet):

The muffins didn't come out "perfect circles" not keeping them in the rings, but they were almost perfect, so it was ok. If you have more rings you can keep them all covered with a lid that will cover them all. I keep meaning to buy more rings. Some people use tuna cans where they've taken the ends off both ends....but I worry about bpa in the cans, so I don't recommend that.
Take a look at the label for Thomas English Muffins:
Sorry about the flash glare, I took the pic quickly, people in the store were looking at me rather funny. Look at all these ingredients!!! Soy bean oil and soy flour, both which are not organic and are more than likely GMO. The only soy you want to consume is organic fermented soy products. Then there's the added wheat gluten which is probably one of the causes of rising gluten intolerance. The enriched flour with synthetic vitamins is not a good option. Using your own ingredients is a much better option!

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