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Tuesday
May012012

English Muffins

English muffins

I was home on spring break two weeks ago and I got bored! I know, what's wrong with me, right? Home for an entire week with nothing to do, and I was bored? What can I say, I'm a creature of habit who thrives on routine, so when my routine is thrown off for even a few days, I don't know what to do with myself. I did a few things that needed to be done, like go to the DMV to renew my license, get my oil changed, and grocery shop during the day when the store wasn't super crowded. I also had lunch with my mom and grandparents, and met Joel at work for lunch one day, and got to see his office and the people he works with, which was fun. But all of those things only took up so much time, so with the remaining time, I decided to tackle an item on my list of things that I've been wanting to make: English Muffins! I googled a recipe and decided to go with this one from Budget Bytes. Since this dough needs to rise 3 times, each for 45 minutes, I figured why not do it while I was home and bored with nothing but time on my hands. The recipe was very easy, and even though it took quite a while, the majority of time was hands-off. My muffins ended up being slightly smaller than the typical size, and I didn't end up with the nooks and crannies that store bought English muffins have, but the flavor was spot-on! They were delicious in the morning holding an egg and cheese breakfast sandwich, and also toasted with butter and jam. I'm glad I finally decided to tackle these, and now that I have tried them, I definitely plan to make them again.

1 teaspoon Active Dry Yeast
1 tablespoon Sugar
1/2 cup Warm Water 
1/2 cup Milk
2 tablespoons Butter
3 cups Flour, divided
3/4 teaspoon Salt
1/4 cup Cornmeal
Non-stick Spray

In a small bowl, combine the yeast, sugar, and warm water. Stir to dissolve the sugar and yeast. Let sit about 5 minutes, or until foamy on top. While the yeast mixture is resting, combine 1 1/2 cups of the flour and the salt in a large bowl. Stir well to evenly distribute the salt. In a second small bowl, combine the milk and butter and microwave it for 30 seconds, stir, then microwave for another 30 seconds. Continue stirring until the butter melts into the warm milk. Pour the yeast mixture and the butter mixture into the flour. Stir until it has combined into a pasty mix. Adding 1/4 cup at a time, stir in more flour until the dough forms a soft, slightly sticky ball that pulls away from the bowl. Sprinkle a little bit of flour onto a clean countertop and coat your hands in flour. Dump the ball of dough out of the bowl and knead it for about 5 minutes. Add as little flour as possible to the countertop while kneading--adding too much flour will yield tough muffins. Shape the dough into a ball and place it in a bowl that has been coated in non-stick spray. Lightly spray the top of the dough and cover with plastic wrap. Let the dough rise until doubled in size, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Punch down the dough and shape it into another ball. Cover the dough ball and let it rise a second time, another 45 minutes to 1 hour. Punch the dough down again and turn it out onto a well floured countertop. Using a rolling pin, lightly roll the dough until it is about 3/4 of an inch thick. Using a cookie cutter, biscuit cutter, or a large round glass, cut the dough into circles. When you can't cut out any more circles, gently ball up the remaining dough, roll it again, and cut some more. Place the cut dough circles onto a sheet pan that has been liberally covered in cornmeal; sprinkle more cornmeal on top of the muffins. Cover loosely with a damp bowl and let rise, once more, until double in size, about 45 minutes. Heat a large skillet over medium-low heat. Spray the pan with non-stick spray. Carefully transfer the fluffy, risen muffins into the hot skillet with a spatula. Cook the muffins, in batches, in the skillet until they are golden brown and crispy on each side, about 5-7 minutes per side. Make sure to keep the heat on low so that the outside browns slowly, allowing the inside to "band". Let the muffins cool on a wire rack before attempting to slice them open. 

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