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BBA Challenge #12: English Muffins

I was looking forward to this week’s challenge. I love English muffins and I had never made them before. I liked the look of this recipe because it was comparatively quick to make, it involved the special stovetop/oven English muffin method that I wasn’t sure I could get to work, and it only makes six English muffins, so I probably wouldn’t need to freeze them. My freezer is jam-packed full of frozen bread at the moment. I kind of looked at it as more of an experiment than our usual BBA recipes.

For some reason, I couldn’t go back to sleep early this morning, so I got up and started these around 6:30 a.m. On a Saturday. Thank goodness this is not a usual occurrence.

The first important thing to note is that, due to no fault of my own, I don’t have photos of the first half of the process. Okay, maybe there was some fault of my own. I had a cast photo shoot for my friend’s negative-budget independent movie last weekend — I am the free photographer, very important when your budget is nil — and I forgot to recharge my flash. I usually use my flash with a diffuser since my kitchen doesn’t get a whole lot of natural light. So no flash, no diffuser, no decent photos until there was enough natural light is my kitchen a few hours later.

But you have seen these same kinds of photos before, and you can probably go on any of the other BBA websites and see them again. I mixed flour, sugar, salt, and yeast. I added shortening. I have gone into how I’m not a big fan of shortening before, but now I have a whole container in my pantry from the Cinnamon Raisin bread, so I decided to use it since it was already at room temperature, unlike my butter. I also added 3/4 cup of milk. I started mixing in my KitchenAid, and found I had to add just a touch more milk to bring it together. I then kneaded it with my dough hook. I actually feel proud that I didn’t take it out and knead it by hand. I almost got a little nervous watching it and thinking that I should do it by hand to make sure. Again I realize how far I have come since the beginning of this little challenge, in the hand-kneading department, anyway. But I let the dough hook do its job, and found that I didn’t have to add any more flour. I got a good temperature and a little bit of a windowpane, so I set it aside to rise for somewhere between an hour and an hour and a half. Then I came back to shape.

I did use my scale to divide the dough into the specified 3 oz. rolls, but I found that I ran out of dough by the end. So two of the muffins were only 2.7 oz.

And lo! There were photos:

Shaped

I let them get puffy for almost an hour and a half, and meanwhile preheated my griddle and my oven. I have a two-burner griddle pan, but I find it’s hard to keep the temperature consistent across the pan, so I decided to cook and bake them in two batches with my smaller griddle pan.

On the Griddle

I did have a hard time getting them from the sheet pan to the griddle. Maybe I didn’t use enough cornmeal, because they were sticking.

Flipped Over

I kept them on both sides for eight minutes, and baked them for eight minutes and they didn’t burn. I think the biggest surprise was that they didn’t really flatten. They were much puffier than I expected.

Puffy

While the first batch cooled, I flipped and baked the second batch.

Cooling

All Done

English Muffin

I did manage to let them cool for half an hour. Then I poked a fork around them to split them open.

Obligatory Crumb Shot

I was a little disappointed to not have the dramatic “nooks and crannies” of the Thomases’ variety. But these tasted really good.

Toasted with Butter

I give these 4.5 stars.

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