Originally eaten by the "downstairs" servants in England's Victorian society, the English muffin surfaced and rose to prominence in Great Britain when members of all classes of society became aware of its goodness. The family baker made English muffins from leftover bread and biscuit dough scraps and mashed potatoes. He fried the batter on a hot griddle, creating light, crusty muffins for the servants. Once members of the "upstairs" family tasted these rich muffins, they began to request them for themselves - especially during teatime.
I am sincerely trying to get over my fear of bread making. With some help of beautiful and inspirational blogs like One Perfect Bite I'm carefully trying. Quick breads, I'm decent at but real bread with real yeast, Heaven help us all. I also live in fear of getting good at it and then my husband and I will roll through life like a couple of big round sourdough loaves. Yikes! The stuff my nightmares are made of!
English Muffins recipe Adapted from King Arthur Flour
1-3/4 C. milk, warm3 T butter 1-1/4 tsp salt 2 T sugar 1 large egg, lightly beaten 4 to 4-1/2 C King Arthur Unbleached Bread Flour 2 tsp instant yeast
Combine yeast with warm milk and set aside for a few minutes until it begins to bubble. Combine all remaining dry ingredients into large bowl of food processor with dough attachment. Pulse to combine. Add melted butter with processor running on dough setting, then add egg and milk with yeast. Run processor until dough pulls away from the sides. Transfer dough to surface dusted with corn meal. Roll out dough to 1/2-inch thick. Cut out circles with floured 4-inch cutter. Re-roll and cut out leftover dough. Cover the muffins with a damp cloth and let rest for about 20 minutes.
Heat griddle or fry pan to about 275-300 degrees. Do not grease, but sprinkle with cornmeal. Cook cornmeal side down first, for about 7 minutes a side.
Check after 3 to 4 minutes to see that the muffins are browning gently and are neither to dark nor too light; if they seem to be cooking either too fast or too slowly, adjust the temperature of your griddle.
When the muffins are brown on both sides, transfer them to a wire rack to cool, and proceed with the rest. Yield: 12-14 muffins.
Alternately, the dough can be made in a bread maker. In this case, just combine all ingredients in bread maker, remove dough when it is combined and rolled out as instructed above.