My love affair with English muffins began and was pretty much sealed during my time in Sydney. Muffins and Muesli the breakfast of choice before a long swim in waters of Coogee bay. When peeps speak of Sydney beaches, almost everyone raves about Bondi (pronounce Bon-dai) but I have always loved Coogee.
The salt water stone pool, the view sitting on the benches on the grassy knoll that overlooks the bay, I love it all.
Sydney was the beginning of so many good things for me – my introduction and love of some GREAT cuisine, friendships that began and are going on 2 decades, a first class education and memories that will last a lifetime. No question!
No English muffins, fork split, toasted TWICE to a golden brown and slathered with European butter was pretty much a great staple breakfast for me. I continue to buy the Thomas muffins at the supermarket here in the US but have for some time now been working on a recipe for really good, plump, buttah trapping English muffins.
I love Alton Brown but I found his recipe lacking. I tried several recipes with egg but didn’t like the texture. This final recipe is a sort of mix of ‘jamabalaya’ if you will that has come together from scribbled, over written, batter stained and dog eared recipe book. I will forever be grateful to my friend Beth who gifted me a blank recipe writing book a decade ago that I still use dedicatedly. My little treasure house!
So this English muffin recipe begins with a starter and basically it’s a the basic yeast loving mess – flour, water and some dry active yeast so they can eat the sugar in the mixture (from the starch), release carbon dioxide, multiply exponentially until the batter is all pock faced by morning.
The starter is then mixed up with the usual suspects – flour, milk, yeast, baking powder blah blah blah to make a soft gooey dough which turns not so gooey after the first rise 90 minutes later. The dough is divided into portion which are cast iron skillet toasted to a golden brown on both sides.
Once fork split (not knife split) and toasted TWICE for my toaster you end up with the marvelous, rich bodied English muffin that tastes better than eating cardboard with pock marks and slathered with butter.
I also like that homemade ones are slightly larger and I find the slight imperfections of shape, endearing. Which is hint to all you OCD kitchen divas, don’t sweat the shape too much! As long as they are roundish and don’t look like something out of Dragon tales, you’re fine!
I do recommend 2 qty 10” cast iron skillets or 1 large electric griddle which will make life much easier. Since I’m not so gung-ho about shape perfection, I’m not going out and investing in rings and what not. Not unless you plan on fixing this every single week in which case, I say your investment will pay off!
Either way, what a fun little Sunday project. I turned mine into Sunday Brunch with Eggs Benedict with roasted red peppers and Asparagus and a side of homemade sausages. All in all a lovely way to spend Sunday. Give it a go!