Saturday, 12 November 2011

English Muffins

I don't bake very often because I can't usually be bothered following recipes, mistakenly thinking it's too much like hard work. I always forget that whilst a recipe may be involved it often needs only 3 or 4 ingredients and little effort. Cooking Staffordshire oatcakes the other week reminded me how simple and rewarding it can be to mix up a batch of dough or batter, and if everything goes to plan how delicious the results.

With these thoughts in mind, and a cupboard full of yeast and flour it was only a matter of time before I got the mixing bowl out again. It had to be muffins. I love English muffins, simply toasted with butter, or butter and cheese, or butter and jam, or in a home-made version of the McMuffin. The McMuffin is a great idea, just executed badly. Sausage meat of dubious quality and an egg cooked solid. No-one in their right mind chooses a solid yolked egg. I like to make my own version with proper sausages and a runny egg, and it always goes down a treat.

I used Delia's recipe for my muffins. I won't recreate it here because I only changed one thing from the original. I forgot that I didn't have any strong white bread flour, so I used strong wholemeal instead. It worked just fine although I think white is probably better for muffins.

The method couldn't be simpler. Mix your dough, knead it, then leave it prove. This is the dough, kneaded but unproven.

Here it is after proving. It's twice the size as in the last picture, honest.

Then you can roll it out and cut it into muffins, then leave it prove again.

After the second prove they are cooked on both sides in a greased pan. Greased with lard, says Delia.

Leave to cool, then split and toast whenever you want one.

I split one straight from the pan, toasted it and buttered it. Lovely. It's all about the texture with muffins, that crisp, slightly chewy crust on the outside and the soft, yeasty inside that's just airy enough to soak up the butter.

The pièce de résistance was the breakfast muffin. I've been craving black pudding for a while so used this in place of the sausage. A toasted, buttered muffin, Bury black pudding, a runny egg and a squirt of ketchup. I fried the egg in the cutter used for the muffins to get that neat and tidy 'McMuffin' effect. Imagine a world where McDonalds served runny eggs and black pudding!


Cath Storey said...

Thanks for bringing a few round for us - we had them yesterday morning with pork & mustard sausages in - delicious!

Dave said...

Cool, glad you liked them. They looked a bit dull in comparison to all of your wonderful cakes! (I ate about half of the raspberry one by the way).

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