Happy little frisbees of bread to celebrate my one hundredth post! # 100: English Muffins
Welcome to triple digits, friends! I’m so pleased that this blog is still chugging along, 99 posts later. It started as a New Years resolution in 2017, in hopes that I would grow as a baker and add to my repertoire. Twas definitely the most successful of any New Years resolution I’ve ever made! Considering my annual attempts to drink more water and exercise regularly never make it past February each year . . .
For those of you who’ve been reading since the first few weeks – thanks for sticking around! For those who just recently discovered this blog – welcome to the party! It’s been a joy these past two years and I can’t wait to dive into more of my baking bucket list in 2019.
About a month ago, I was thinking about what to do for post #100 and was dreaming of dramatic cakes or something involving fancy sprinkles. I obviously landed pretty far away on the baking spectrum: tackling a long-term resident of my baking bucket list instead.
That’s really what this blog is all about! Trying my hand at recipes that I’ve never attempted before, learning how they work and then chowing down on whatever comes out of the oven.
(Don’t worry; I’m still planning for a glittery cake with sparklers in it for Christmas or New Years!)
While mine turned out a bit flatter than I intended (I don’t think my water was quite warm enough for the yeast to dance, sigh) they still had a lovely light texture inside. The outsides were toasty and coated in that classic dusting of farina/semolina.
My quest for semolina was an epic fail. Upon finding the slot for semolina on the shelf empty at Safeway, I turned to my phone to find alternatives only to remember that the only service to be had in the entire store is in a tiny spot right up against the meat counter. I’m no vegetarian, but I also don’t love leaning over a bunch of raw meat to google different types of flour. I then went the old-fashioned route and asked my fellow shoppers for their opinion. We landed on Cream of Wheat hot cereal, eventually tracking it down on the very top shelf in a forgotten section of the cereal aisle. Side note: shoppers at 9 AM on Saturdays are surprisingly nice and helpful!
Cream of Wheat is just farina: a course-ground wheat flour that is slightly gritty. It saves your life when making English muffins since the dough is incredible sticky and hard to handle. It serves the same purpose as a light dusting of flour under a rolled-out pie crust.
Not the happiest yeast I’ve seen, hence the lack of huge air pockets in my muffins. Next time I’ll double check the water temperature with an actual thermometer!
It started out so normal! But then I added the milk.
The dough was so incredibly wet and sticky that I had to spoon it out on to a farina-covered pan to keep it from getting everywhere. I almost felt like I was dealing with thick pancake batter!
Pan-fried til crispy, and then finished in the oven for 10 minutes at 350 to make sure they’re cooked all the way through.
All of the recipes I read through had notes in huge, bold font at the bottom saying: MAKE SURE TO USE A FORK to split them in half instead of a knife. It apparently helps to keep all the lovely air pockets alive and well. If a knife is used, the delicate structure gets compressed into something closer to a bun.
Happy munching, and happy 100th!
Recipe mostly from: https://www.kingarthurflour.com/recipes/english-muffins-recipe