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How to make English Muffins.
Recipe for English Muffins
If you’ve read any of my hubs previously, you’ll know I’m a complete bread making nut. English Muffins are a great tradition and the sort of thing we always had at various aunties’ houses when I was a kid. They are a real treat and are great eaten fresh from the oven or toasted with ham and eggs as a great brunch. The recipe is almost identical to what we call teacakes/bread cakes.
They are also known as griddle cakes.
- 450gm white bread flour, sifted
- tsp salt
- 375gm milk/ butter milk
- 20gm fresh yeast
- 1 tblsp melted butter or oil
- semolina or rice flour, for dusting
Equipment You will need
There is no special equipment necessary to make good muffins. A good food processor with a dough hook will take the hard work out of making them for you. Plenty of plastic bowls and dishes are always useful when cooking. You need one to blend your yeast and soften your butter and even for weighing out into.
Prepare Your Yeast
First of all prepare your yeast, if you are using dried yeast just follow the instructions on the tin or sashay. If you are using live yeast grumble about 20 g into a plastic bowl add a heaped teaspoon of caster sugar, and makes it until the yeast goes runny. Add 100 mL of lukewarm water give it a good stir and add a tablespoon of flour mix it in. Leave this somewhere warm until it produces a spongy top.
Mix the Ingredients
Place your flour in your mixing bowl, and add your 2 cups of lukewarm milk, I like to use buttermilk it gives it more flavour. We also make our own butter so we always have jobs of buttermilk available for our bread making.
Begin to mix slowly, and then add your yeast mix. Yeast works best if kept separate from the salt, as it will kill it. Now set your mixer a little bit faster and adding a tablespoon of melted butter or olive oil. Keep it mixing for about six or 7 min to give the gluten chance to form into a long stretchy strands. Once the dough has stuck to the dough hook add a teaspoon of salt and keep mixing.
First Proving and kneading
Turn it out onto a well floured work surface and hand knead it for a couple of minutes. Put it back into a bowl and cover it with a damp tea towel and leave it to prove for about 30 min.
This first proving is quite critical and affects the final taste of the bread or in this case muffins. It gives the yeast chance to feed on the sugars in the flour that in turn produces the carbon dioxide that will give you the bubbles. The carbon dioxide attaches itself to the gluten, which is why the kneading process is so important. But don't worry about it, it is like most things the more you practice you have the better you become at producing good dough.
My granny used to bake bread almost every day, and I remember that she also used to tear off some of her dough and give it to me to practice. She would check it by stretching it out and then rolling back up again, my loaf would be placed with hers in the proving oven. I still get the same thrill 50 years later whenever my bread goes into the oven.
Turn out the Dough
Once the dough has risen, turn it out and knock it back which simply means knock some of the gas out of the bread. This also helps to give the yeast more food, so don't be afraid that you will have lost all your bubbles.
Divide the dough into two equal parts and then divide each part into four. Shape your muffins by rolling them gently under your hand with your fingers just touching the tabletop and the dough just rolling on the palm of your hand. Again it takes patience and practice to get this right, but is hardly rocket science and you should be able to master in no time at all.
Dust Them Over
The muffins then need dusting with semolina, corn, grits, whatever you call it in your part of the world. Traditionally they were cooked on a hot skillet or griddle, I have an oven stone which gets pretty hot by the time I finished making my daily bread so sometimes I just drop the muffins onto the hot stone and cook them that way.
On a griddle you need to cook them 8-10 minutes on a fairly low heat and then turn them over and same again.
Three stages of Muffin magicClick thumbnail to view full-size
How to Enjoy your Muffins
How to eat them.
One of the nicest ways to eat English muffins is to slice them whilst they are still warm and give them a thick coating of glorious yellow butter, I know a lot of the health freaks will be going ‘oooh not butter’, but there is nothing with that same taste.
They are perfect toasted, and will give you the best ever eggs Benedict; poached eggs on the opened muffin with a drizzle of hollandaise sauce and a sprig of fresh mint.
You can toast your English muffins and serve them with poached eggs pancetta, or bacon for a filling and satisfying, tasty brunch.
I like them best with homemade jam or lemon curd. [not season for jams yet, but I will be making jam hubs soon.]
Make your own butter
How to make butter.
It is dead easy if you have a mixer or food processor.
Poor a large carton of double cream (heavy cream) into your mixing bowl using your whisk the seven bells out of it and within a few minutes you will have thick whipped cream, but don't stop there keep it going and keep it whipping add a teaspoon of salt and the butter will separate out from the buttermilk. Pour off the buttermilk and place the gorgeous yellow butter onto a piece of greaseproof paper. If you have some wooden spatulas use them to pass the butter into shape. Wrap it up, place it in the fridge, your butter is ready to use.
How to make Hollandaise Sauce
How to make hollandaise sauce
two tablespoons of butter
two large egg yolks
tablespoon of cold water
tablespoon of lemon juice and a pinch of salt.
Make sure that you have all your ingredients ready before you start this part.
Put the egg yolks into a saucepan on a very gentle heat and stir, the yolks should start to become creamy, just make sure that you don't cook them. Add the lemon juice and the salt a little bit at a time beating the mixture constantly if it begins to get to thick then add a little olive oil as you mix. Put the pan back onto a low heat and keep stirring. It should now really thicken up. Take it off the heat and add either cold butter or cold oil to stop the cooking process. As you mix it will turn into a thick creamy sauce just like mayonnaise.
You can of course use low fat oils and in place of the butter and cream.
What else, but English breakfast tea, usually a blend of Assam and Kenyon leaves.
But I like milk too with muffins, straight from the fridge.
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Romance and Adventure
Young Ben Stone is fleeing for his life over the bleak Yorkshire Moors. From being a child, he has been besotted by the local landowner’s daughter Ruth, but after her wicked brother is accidentally killed, Ben fears that he will be blamed. Ruth convinces him he should go on the run; otherwise, her father who is also the local magistrate will probably have him hanged for murder.
Trying to keep out of the way of the law, he runs into a wandering band of thieves. They take him as a prisoner and he is forced to endure a desperate winter in their secret lair. When he does escape their clutches, his fortune changes, and he is taken in by a friendly parson. The parson runs a small orphanage in Cartmel, where Ben recovers his health and spirits.
A brief spell working at a chandler’s shop in Barrow in Furness is rudely interrupted when Ben is pressed into the navy. The year is 1801 and the Royal Navy is desperate for men.
Despite this poor start, Ben takes to life in the navy, and quickly gains promotion. He is set for a promising career, when his past returns to haunt him, in the person of Ruth the landowner’s daughter, who has been married off to the new Governor of Jamaica and needs transporting out to the Caribbean on Ben’s ship. During the voyage, Ruth takes the opportunity to revive Ben’s feelings for her.
When he returns to England, he is confronted by his past and has to face a court-martial over the death of Ruth’s brother. Can he clear his name? What part will Lady Ruth play in his future? Ben is in for many varied adventures before his life is settled.