I bought some small individual pans at a garage sale recently and was pleased as punch, thinking I had scored something, thinking I could use them for English muffins. I’ve got two issues with English muffins: the perfect muffin ring (yes, I’m anal and want the straight edges of muffins that cook in rings but oh how they stick) and cooking time and method. I don’t have a griddle so I just cook them on the stove, covered for a bit, but sometimes I get doughy middles thanks to my impatience.
Those pans were a major disappointment. They scorched and stuck so badly I ended up with mangled remnants. I remember Peter Reinhart’s recipe called for finishing off the muffins in a preheated oven, and since I was sick of washing burnt pans by then, I decided to bake the second batch in the oven from the start. Which gave them a decidedly un-muffin appearance and make them technically buns instead of muffins? But the insides were soft and holey and as lapping-up of butter and jam.
There’re many recipes out there, but I’ve used Susan’s before and they were good, with enough wholewheat flour for more ‘body’. Mine actually had even more wholewheat flour since my leaven feeds on that.
What I did differently was place some rings directly on parchment paper, drop dough into each ring, patting them flat and filling out the sides. Then i proofed for 45 mins, during which time I preheated the oven to 200 degrees celsius. Using a peel, I transferred the parchment paper with rings into the oven, to bake directly on the baking stone. They rose nicely and gave out a lot of steam. I started reducing the temp to 180 after about 10-15 mins, and finished off the baking. I think it took 20-25 mins. Bob was just grateful we had something edible after the fiasco the day before, but I knew better that these were not real English muffins!
I have to include this photo because of the raw milk we bought at a farm. People who grew up on farms or grew up drinking raw milk would laugh, but what a revelation this was! I don’t enjoy drinking milk and was fearing a strong ‘cow’ factor, but it was just wonderfully sweet and creamy and there was none at all of that taste I associate with milk. I could get used to this!!
Oh, and the Yves Bordier butter with yuzu zest is divine. I can just imagine making sablés with this, and it pushes me closer to the edge of wanting to make my own butter. Yes, in this country where good butters just jump out at you from markets and supermarkets; trust me, I test butters all the time. Crazy huh.