I think I'm ready to say that yeast doesn't intimidate me anymore. That may not seem like a bold proclamation to you, but trust me, it is.
If you had tried to get me to make you some English muffins 10 years ago, I probably would've laughed in your face. In those 10 years, though, I've been fortunate to learn from practiced bakers and I've also done plenty of experimentation in my own kitchen (where no one really sees the terrible failures except for me). I know it's a good practice to share those bad batches every once in a while, that's not what's happening today. Nope, today I'm sharing a booming success!
|Perfect for nestling into those nooks and crannies!|
Having tinkered with English muffins before, I decided to make a batch incorporating two of my favorite ingredients. Apples and cinnamon just belong together--where there are apples, let there be cinnamon! (While the inverse is less true, it's not unreasonable!) Adding these items to the muffins might limit what you shmear into those wonderful nooks and crannies, but really, there's nothing wrong with just a layer of salted butter.
A helpful tip for this procedure: The easiest way to handle and cook these muffins is to lay them right onto the griddle on which you'll be frying them. That way, you don't have to move them once they're risen, and it's fine that they cook slowly as you heat the griddle up. However, if you don't have enough griddle space to do this, sprinkle a baking sheet heavily with cornmeal, and place the muffins on the sheet; they can be fairly close together. Either way, sprinkle the tops of the muffins with additional cornmeal.
Another tip for English muffins, whether made at home or store-bought: Always use a fork to split them open, not a knife to cut. Fork-split muffins will have wonderful nooks and crannies; knife-cut ones won't.
I probably should've browned these a little bit more, but they were cooked through and still tasted great. I guess there's a reason that the word "easy" is contained within the word "yeast"! :)
Lots of credit to KAF
Makes about a dozen muffins
- 1 cup milk
- 2 tablespoons granulated sugar
- 1 (0.25 ounce) package active dry yeast
- 1 cup warm water (110-120 degrees F)
- 1/4 cup melted shortening
- 6 cups all-purpose flour
- 1 teaspoon ground cinnamon
- 1 teaspoon salt
- 1/2 cup shredded or grated peeled apple
Warm the milk in a small saucepan until a thin film forms, then remove from heat.
Mix in the sugar, stirring until dissolved; let cool until lukewarm.
In a small bowl, dissolve yeast in warm water. Let stand until creamy, about 10 minutes.
In a large bowl, combine the milk, yeast mixture, melted shortening, and 3 cups flour; beat until smooth.
Add cinnamon, salt, shredded or grated apple, and the rest of the flour, or enough to make a soft dough.
Knead this until it's satin-smooth and shiny. Place in greased bowl, cover, and let rise.
Gently deflate the dough, and divide it into 18 pieces. Shape each piece into a smooth ball, then flatten the balls until they're about 3" in diameter.
Lay the muffins right onto the griddle (or onto a baking sheet, as described in my narrative above).
Cover the muffins (a piece of parchment works well), and let them rest for 20 minutes.
Cook the muffins on the griddle over low heat for 7 to 15 minutes per side, until their crust is golden brown, and their interior is cooked through. When done, the center of a muffin should register about 200 degrees F on an instant-read thermometer.
Remove the muffins from the griddle and let them cool thoroughly before enjoying.