So, I've been wanting to try making English muffins for a long time, but they're one of those food items I was still running scared of. They seemed too complicated. Well, yesterday I came down with a fierce craving for English muffin pizza, so I hunted around for a recipe that didn't seem too fiddly, and you can see the result.
These are pretty dense. They've got a good crumb, but they're not quite as light as store brought muffins. This is partially because it was a pretty heavy dough - it holds itself together nicely, and you don't need rings for the cooking. However, I probably should have kneaded them more. It was a pretty sticky dough, and I was afraid of picking up too much flour in the kneading. Next time, if I use this recipe again, I'll hold back some of the flour from the recipe and incoporate it into the kneading stage.
They're also huge - I'm not quite sure why the recipes says to only make 8 or 9 muffins, as I made 10 and they're still big. Next time, I'd make 12.
However, they were also very very good, and dead easy. Really, the fiddliest part was proofing the yeast, something I never bother doing because mostly I make no-knead bread where it all just gets dumped together (and incidentally, I never use instant yeast for that and it always turns out fine), but since it was a new recipe, I did. I overheated the water and milk and had to wait for them to cool so I didn't kill the yeast. Otherwise, it was mix the dough, knead, leave it on the counter with a bowl over it to rise, shape and roll the pieces, let them rise again, slap them onto a skillet, ignore them for 8 to 10 minutes (it decreased as I went, because I had to do them in 3 batches and the skillet was getting warmer), flip, ignore, pull out of the skillet. That sounds like a lot, but it was mostly do something and then wait - I went out to the co-op while they were rising the first time.1 My total labor was maybe 30 minutes. While they were cooking, I did dishes, took out the recycling (legion, after a week of having other people in the house), and mixed up more food.
While I was at it yesterday, I made up the banana bread from How To Cook Everything, without the nuts and coconut that we didn't have. It smells divine; I haven't had any yet. I also made these cookies. I made a third of a batch, to see how they would turn out, and got 12 cookies out of it, which is perfect for a few days of sweet treats but not too many. I ended up using some honey instead of all maple syrup because, well, maple syrup is expensive. Hot, they were crumbly. Cool, they were creamy and uber-sweet and melted in my mouth. I might have had a couple more than I meant to, because they were damn good. :)
It was nice to spend an afternoon puttering in my kitchen.
1. Where I had my first ever reaction to the Obama bumper sticker that I've had on my car for months. The aging hippies in the car next to me told me they liked my sticker, and we chatted for a few minutes.