I post a rather wide variety of recipes here on Peaceful Cooking. It started out with recipes I was familiar with and made often. But as my interests grew....so did my range. Looking back, I can see how I've grown and changed in my cooking styles and food desires. Often times I post recipes that I've tried for the first time. Such as these English Muffins. Just because I post a recipe, doesn't mean I'm an expert at it. Far from it. It just means I've conquered a challenge. An inner challenge. I figure if I show that I can do it...someone out there with inner doubts will see that they can do it too.
With all that said, I feel like I've crossed something off my 'Bucket List' by making English Muffins. It's something I've been wanting to try for a very long time. What held me back was the lack of 3" ring molds to cook them in. Sure, I could've bought them online and spent more money in shipping than the actual product but that doesn't work for me. Someone had told me to use tuna cans with the bottoms and tops removed. My can opener couldn't remove the bottoms because of the rounded edge. Then a Bakespace.com buddy told me that the pineapple cans still have the old style bottoms that work with can openers. YAY!
Just to give you a visual of how the cans are different....
Anyways...with that dilemma solved...I was ready to roll. I used Alton Brown's English Muffins recipe. It's simple enough. And if you've watched his show about how to make them...well, it just makes one even more comfortable baking them. I know I watched that episode once. I just can't remember. I do wish that I had an electric griddle to maintain the temperature. And I wish I knew how big or small a #20 ice cream scoop is. But I'm getting ahead of myself. Let's get this recipe rolling.
Makes 8-10 muffins
1/2 cup non-fat powdered milk
1 TB sugar
1 tsp salt, divided
1 TB shortening
1 cup hot water
2 1/4 tsp yeast (or one packette)
1/8 tsp sugar
1/3 cup water, luke warm (about 110')
2 cups all purpose flour, sifted
In a large bowl, combine the powdered milk, 1 TB sugar, 1/2 tsp salt, shortening and hot water. Stir until the salt and sugar are dissolved. Set aside to cool.
In a small bowl, combine the yeast, 1/8 tsp sugar and 1/3 cup of water. Stir to combine and let rest until the yeast has dissolved.
Add the yeast to the dry milk mixture. Add in the sifted flour and beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Cover and let rest for 30 minutes.
If you're using an electric griddle, preheat it to 300' F. If you're using a skillet on the stove like I did, you'll want the skillet on a medium to low setting.
Add the remaining 1/2 tsp salt to the dough and beat thoroughly.
Place your metal ring molds on the griddle or in your skillet. Spray with cooking spray
Using a #20 ice cream scoop, place 2 scoops into each ring.
Note: My ice cream scoop isn't numbered. It had been my mother in-laws so who knows how old it is. In my case, I only needed to use one scoop. (I found that out the hard way. I'll share that embarrassment with you later.)
Cover the rings with a lid or if you're using a griddle, place a cookie sheet on top of the rings and cook for 5 or 6 minutes.
Remove the lid and flip the rings using tongs.
Note: When flipping the rings over to cook the other side of the muffin...have the tongs on the top and bottom of the ring, not the sides. This will hold the dough inside the ring and prevent a moment of stress as the dough tries to fall out of the ring.
Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 - 6 minutes, or until golden brown.
Place the muffins on a cooling rack, remove the rings and allow to cool.
With a fork, split each muffin then peak inside and check out the success....
Oh m'gosh! I actually made real English Muffins. And they were good! They were especially good toasted with peanut butter smeared all over them.
Now for the confession of my stress and embarrassment. My success was on the second try. That means...I totally annihilated the first batch. I might have given up after that, but damn... I had worked so hard to get my ring molds!!
With the first batch, I mistakenly thought (assumed?) #20 was the standard ice cream scoop size. Apparently not. I over filled the rings. Mistake number 1.
I didn't properly convert the 300' griddle temp to the setting on my gas stove. Medium heat (5 or 6 setting) was way too hot. The setting needed to be medium low (setting 3, maybe 4). I burnt the little buggers. Mistake number 2.
Of course I didn't realize they were burning until I went to flip them. I took my tongs, grabbed the sides of the ring and flipped. Sounds easy enough. Until the dough falls out. And you find yourself struggles to get everything back in the ring and in it's proper place, without burning yourself, and all the dough wants to do is be FREE...and ooze out, all over the pan. Mistake number 3.
This is how my first batch turned out. Over sized, burnt and just plain funky. So why did I even bother to continue? I mean...the ring molds couldn't have been the only motivation. They're just pineapple tins, after all. And English muffins can be found and bought at any market.
I'll tell you why....cuz even though I had messed up that first batch in multiple ways, I still had to look inside to see if I was at least on the right track. Was it just going to be gooey dough? Or would 'they' be there.
The ever sought-after nooks and crannies.
So I took my fork and split a deformed, mangled muffin and opened it up....