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Tuesday, 3 October 2006

first try at English Muffins

Filed under: baking,bread - yeasted & unyeasted,food & drink,side — ejm @ 09:19 EDT

(click on image for larger view)
English muffins?? Way back at the beginning of August, I promised myself that as soon as the weather got cooler, I would try Emma’s (Laughing Gastronome) recipe for English Muffins.

And here they are. Well, they LOOK like English muffins, anyway.

But there the resemblance ends. I don’t know what I did wrong. I thought I had measured the flour correctly – granted, my scale isn’t the most accurate scale but I can’t believe it is that much out of whack.

As I laboriously stirred (can’t really call it stirring) the flour into what seemed like a rather small amount of buttermilk, I read Emma’s instructions:

Make a very soft dough with all the ingredients except the polenta. The dough should be very soft, tacky, but not really sticky.

The dough should be very soft? It was like a small soccer ball. I added water to try to soften it. Still like a soccer ball. It was so stiff that the only way that I could manage to develop the gluten was to pick it up and thwack it down onto the board.

I let the dough rise and formed it into English muffin like shapes and cooked them anyway – hoping they would miraculously turn into real English muffins.

Ha.

Nope. Just buns. Tough buns.

But cubed, my fake English muffins were very good in stovetop stuffing with Sunday’s roast chicken….

At this rate, I don’t think I’m going to be featuring English Muffins for World Bread Day.

I did email Emma to ask if there might have been an error in her recipe. There really doesn’t seem to be enough liquid.

Alas, no answer. My email must have been lost in the vacuum.

 

  1. Comment by bing — 3 October 2006 @ 23:41 EDT

    You must be right about either the amount of flour or liquid. The amount of yeast seems kind of low for the amount of flour, too.

    This recipe seems to be about twice the amount of flour in yours, but it uses about three times the amount of liquid plus an egg.

    http://www.thefreshloaf.com/recipes/englishmuffins

    Here’s another with about the same amount of flour as yours and 4 (!) times the amount of liquid.

    http://fooddownunder.com/cgi-bin/recipe.cgi?r=20890

    At least, I think I did the grams / cups calculation right. I saw a site that said 125 g per cup.

  2. Comment by Mats — 4 October 2006 @ 12:33 EDT

    I think bing is on the right track. I had a look at Alton Brown’s version
    http://www.foodnetwork.com/food/recipes/recipe/0,1977,FOOD_9936_23595,00.html
    and saw that he had 1 1/3 cups of liquid to 2 cups of flour. Good luck next time!

  3. Comment by ejm — 5 October 2006 @ 15:29 EDT

    I doubt that the yeast amount is way off. And I’m not sure that eggs are really necessary either. I believe it really is just amount of liquid that needs to be increased dramatically…

    And as soon as I was thwacking the dough on the board, I reminded myself that I hadn’t looked at several recipes for English muffins to contrast and compare them. Silly me. I googled while the soccer ball was rising and looked at many other recipes on the net to see that they all used much more liquid. I quite liked the look of cooksrecipes.com – authentic English muffins recipe.

    Alton Brown’s recipe looks okay too, except for:

    Non-stick vegetable spray

    brrrrrr… loathesome wasteful stuff.

    <rant>I mean really, how hard is it to pour a tiny bit of good oil onto a griddle rather than use an aerosol spray can of questionable oil that once depleted will be added to the ever-growing mountain of needless waste generated by unthinking North Americans? </rant>

  4. Comment by bing — 5 October 2006 @ 23:33 EDT

    I was amazed that Alton Brown was recommending spray oil too. On his waffles show, he that he likes it because it contains lecithin, which allows the oil to spread out evenly.

    I wasn’t convinced.

    He did explain why some of the spray oils say “fat free”. Apparently, you can say “fat free” if one serving has less than x (I forget how many) grams of fat. And a “serving” of non-stick spray can be defined as a tiny spray which is less than x grams, so they can round it down to none. !!!

    (Cool that when you have to refresh the page to see the “Leave a Reply” numbers, the message doesn’t get cleared! I had carefully saved it in my cut-and-paste just in case.)

  5. Comment by MrsBrown — 6 October 2006 @ 00:28 EDT

    Do you think that The Dangers of Bread http://www.geoffmetcalf.com/bread.html also includes English muffins? I also think that even though some people will be celebrating World Bread Day on October 16, those same people should be made more aware of the Dangers of Bread.

  6. Comment by ejm — 6 October 2006 @ 14:59 EDT

    You’re absolutely right, MrsBrown! I had no idea how negligent I was being, not only condoning bread baking, but inviting others to do the same. I’ve now added the dangers of bread link to my sidebar and will be sure to also add a cautionary note to my World Bread Day post.

    As for the cooking spray, I am constantly amazed at the waste that goes on at the food TV studios. They never talk (or at least this is the case on the shows I watch) about composting vegetable trimmings or rinsing and crushing cans to be put into recycle bins. The amount of plastic wrap and aluminum foil is also outrageous. It would make me so much happier to see them talk about using less packaging than worrying about a tiny amount of extra oil used when cooking English muffins if one poured oil into the pan instead of spraying it with suspect edible oil product.

    It must be that the advertising sponsors are paying cooks to use these products on national TV. I couldn’t believe it when I saw Anna Olson advertising splenda!!!

  7. Comment by Paz — 10 October 2006 @ 17:59 EDT

    Your English muffins look terrific!

    Paz

  8. Comment by ejm — 10 October 2006 @ 18:38 EDT

    Looks can be so deceiving, can’t they? :lalala:

 

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