I feel there are many kitchen "staples" purchased at the grocery store with little consideration given to the minimal time and cost it would take to make the item at home (no, I didn't make the butter for this post but I could have...). Often the homemade version is cheap and easy. One example in our kitchen - English muffins.
To remedy this situation, we will be talking about muffins today. More specifically, the English version. Unlike the American version of the muffin, an unleavened quick bread baked in small portions, English muffins are a spongy bread leavened with yeast. The English muffin has been a popular breakfast staple for over two centuries. The traditional English-style muffin has more in common with a pancake than an American style muffin, since English-sytle muffins are cooked on a griddle not baked.
English muffins can be made fresh each morning, but they keep for a couple of days and can be frozen. I have never been known as an early riser, so I prefer to prepare them ahead of time. A quick warming in the toaster, followed by a bit of butter or jelly, is warm and satisfying addition to any breakfast.
Recipe by Alton Brown via Food Network
To create an English muffin you will need muffin rings. Alton Brown (the anti-unitasker) suggests a quick solution of using tuna cans with both sides cut out. This may be an elegant and cheap solution, but I rarely eat tuna. I found a set of 4 English Muffin rings from Amazon.com for less than 5 bucks.
- 1/2 cup non-fat powdered milk
- 1 tablespoon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1 tablespoon shortening
- 1 cup hot water
- 1 envelope dry yeast
- 1/8 teaspoon sugar
- 1/3 cup warm water
- 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted
- Non-stick vegetable spray
- Special equipment: electric , 3-inch metal rings, see Note*
In a medium bowl, combine the powdered milk, 1 tablespoon of sugar, 1/2 teaspoon of salt, shortening, and hot water, and stir until the sugar and salt are dissolved. Let cool to room temperature. In a separate bowl combine the, 1/8 teaspoon of sugar and 1/3 cup of warm water; rest until yeast has dissolved. Add yeast mixture to the dry milk mixture. Add flour and beat thoroughly with a wooden spoon. Cover the bowl and rest in a warm for 30 minutes.
Preheat the griddle to 300 degrees F.
After 30 minutes, add the remaining 1/2 teaspoon of salt to mixture and beat thoroughly. Place metal rings onto the griddle and coat lightly with vegetable spray. Using a #20scoop, place 2 scoops into each ring and cover with a pot lid or sheet. Cook for 5 to 6 minutes. Remove the lid and rings using tongs. Cover with the lid and cook for another 5 to 6 minutes or until golden brown. Place on a , remove rings and cool. with fork and serve with your favorite toppings.