Yeah me! I finally (finally finally finally) bought myself some English Muffin Rings! (Or 'crumpet' rings if you are English/British). I have always loved English Muffins my whole life. Even as a tiny child I would choose a toasted English Muffin over a plain old boring piece of toast any day. The crisp outside, the chewy inside, the nooks and crannies for holding delicious butter... plain with butter, with a slice of cheese or a smear of peanut butter were (and are) my 3 favorite ways to eat them but I'll never say 'no' to one topped with an egg and a few slices of bacon either!
(On a side note, while pregnant with my first child I was insanely, crazy sick with nausea and throwing up... not just in the morning but all day long and for a full 6 months. I found through trial and error that eating an English Muffin with peanut butter was the *only* thing to help me through it. Not toast, not crackers, not a bagel... but the blessed sight and smell of a toasted English Muffin was my saving grace during that time.)
OK! So first off - back to the point I made about FINALLY buying the rings. Because I've wanted some for 20 years but never enough to spend the money to buy any. Yes I know they are 'cheap' by everyone's standards, but we never had the extra money for them so it was never a priority. I honestly don't spend even $2.00 without considering the purchase heavily.
Last week I ordered these from Amazon; Fox Run Set of Four English Muffin Rings, 4 Ct, (Pack of 2)
- Set Of Four Metal Rings
- 3 3/4 Inch Diameter X 1 Inch Deep
- Rolled Edges
- Tin-Plated Steel
The set comes with a recipe printed on a piece of paper in the box, but if you know me at all, you know I don't actually follow any one recipe and I always gather at least 4-5, then 'do my own thing' between the mix. I did two batches and cooked them two different ways. Some with rings, some without. Also, I ground my own flour (Non-GMO Project Verified).
In the end I'm OK with how they turned out, but I have an Artisan Bread recipe I love that I'm going to test as an English Muffin dough next to see if I like that one better. This gives a good homemade English Muffin but still doesn't have that exact texture I want. I think a ciabatta style dough will give me what I'm looking for so I'll update later if I move ahead with that thought process.
Homemade English Muffins
(Not a crumpet - which is a little different and cooked longer so they don't need to be split and toasted in the toaster like English Muffins do)
corn meal for dusting
English Muffin Rings are completely optional
An electric skillet for cooking
Butter for the skillet
1/4 c warm water (just warmer than room temperature - about 100 degrees)
2 t instant yeast (or a little packet which is 2 1/4 t)
1/2 t sugar
1/2 t flour
I blended mine in a Mason jar. Let it set for 5 minutes while you do the next step;
In microwave safe bowl mix;
1 1/4 c whole milk
1 T sugar
1 t salt
1T sour cream (or plain yogurt) (2 batches tested; 1 with and 1 without; I found this does add to the best flavor but is optional)
1 T butter
Microwave for about 1 minute until it's warm (longer depending on the strength of your microwave). Stir until the butter melts. Your milk mixture needs to be about 100-115 degrees but not hotter or it will kill the yeast when you mix them.
In a mixing bowl pour the the milk mixture, add the yeast mixture (which should now be very bubbly and have increased in size) and add;
2 1/2 - 3 c flour (I used hard white, fresh ground with a mixture of about 1/4 c fresh ground whole red wheat)
Mix with a bread hook attachment for about 5 minutes. The dough will be sticky but should not be runny. If it's runny, add another 1/2 cup flour. If it's just sticky, don't add more. If it's way too dry, add tablespoons of warm water little by little until it's a more stretchy, sticky dough - not dry.
Scrape down the dough with a greased scraper or your hands; and turn out into a greased bowl. As soon as you do this, the dough should have come to a beautiful dough ball. Cover with plastic wrap and now you have two choices;
refrigerate for at least 12 hours (basically just make them the next day)
let rise for about 1-2 hours on the counter and make them immediately
I did two batches and did not notice a big difference between the two different rises. They both turned out similar in the end.
Remove the dough and divide into about 12-15 equal sized portions. If you are using English Muffin rings, grease them, and lay them on a piece of parchment paper sprinkled with corn meal, on a baking sheet. If you are not using rings, form the dough ball into nice round ball, flatten like a hamburger patty, and round off the edges. Lay then on the corn meal sprinkled parchment. If you are using the rings, lay a ring around the dough patty. Sprinkle the tops with more corn meal. Let rise until they are a little puffy (about an hour or two depending on the time of year, temperature of your house, etc).
When you are ready to cook them, heat an electric griddle to about 350 degrees. Place a pat of butter on and lay a dough muffin or carefully transfer the muffin ring with the dough inside to the griddle. Cook for 5-7 minutes, gently pressing the top with a spatula to flatten a bit. If your heat is too high or your griddle runs hot, the outside will be too dark too fast. Aim for a nice constant heat to cook 5-7 minutes before flipping. Cook the other side (add butter to the griddle if you need) until both sides are nice golden brown. The insides will just be a touch under done. Remove from heat. Remove the rings if you used them. Let cool.
To slice do not use a knife. Part of what makes the nooks and crannies is pulling them apart. Use a fork to fork-split around the muffin and then pull apart with your fingers. Toast in your toaster and top as you wish. These can be frozen just like store bought English Muffins can.
Notes: I've mentioned in the recipe where I tried different things with different batches. I actually found I loved the look of the English Muffins made without the rings as I was careful about shaping them with my hands. I liked the flavor of the batch I used sour cream in better than the batch I left it out of. The rise time in the refrigerator overnight verses just letting the dough rise for an hour in a warm environment made no discernible difference. If you use rings, make sure your dough balls are big enough to fill them. Mine were a little small and I had to go back and add more dough and reshape bigger balls so they would fill when they rose. I'm still playing with this recipe as I mentioned in my opening paragraphs. I have a great artisan bread recipe that I like that I want to try with this one. I'll update in the future if I ever get around to doing it. Until then, this is a good one to use.
Blending the yeast with warm water and a bit of sugar and flour
Warming the milk mixture in the microwave and then stirring to melt the butter in
After warming the milk mixture my yeast had proofed beautifully
The dough looks a bit sticky but is perfect once it's turned out of the bowl
Same dough a minute later after being scraped down and turned out into a nicely greased bowl
It formed it's own ball.
Dividing the dough into equal portions
I did some with rings and some without as I had 8 rings and the recipe can make 12
Sprinkling with corn meal..
Cooking the muffins on an electric griddle and pressed gently to keep them from rising too high
Looking and smelling so good....
Homemade English Muffins
Fork Split - don't cut with a knife.
Then toast in a toaster until golden and crisp
Products related to this post available through Amazon;
Fox Run Set of Four English Muffin Rings
Norpro Muffin Rings, Set of 8