Saturday, February 07, 2015

Have you seen the muffin man?

It turns out he looks a lot like me.

If you want to make these at home, you need to collect some rings. I had two rings, and that was so not enough. If you're cooking on a decent sized griddle, six rings would be good. I used 3-inch rings, but next time I'll try 4-inch rings. Alton Brown says you can use tuna cans with tops and bottoms removed, but make sure they are at least 3 inches wide (and ideally wider). Also, keep in mind that a lot of canned food uses BPA-lined cans; heating up some bread inside a BPA-lined tin is probably not a great idea. Ideally, I'd aim for rings that are about 1-inch tall. Taller ones will work, but if you're like me, you'll have a tendency to overfill them.

Adapted from Alton Brown's English Muffin Recipe

  • dry milk mixture
    • 1 Tbsp. shortening (15 g.)—apparently you can substitute a neutral vegetable oil
    • 1/2 c. non-fat powdered milk (35 g.)
    • 1 Tbsp. sugar (15 g.)
    • 1/2 tsp. salt (2 g.)
    • 1 c. hot water (235 g.)—hot from the tap is fine, but make it hot
  • yeast mixture
    • 1 envelope active dry yeast (2-1/4 tsp. or 7 g.)
    • 1/8 tsp. sugar
    • 1/3 cup warm water (110° F)
  • 2 cups all-purpose flour, sifted (250 g.)
  • 1/2 tsp. salt (2 g.)
  • 1 tsp. baking soda (2 g.)
  1. Melt the shortening in a medium mixing bowl. (I did not melt the shortening, but it seems like a good idea.)
  2. Add the remaining dry milk mixture ingredients and stir to dissolve the salt and sugar. Set aside.
  3. In a separate small bowl, mix the yeast mixture ingredients until the yeast dissolves. 
  4. Add yeast mixture and sifted flour to dry milk mixture and beat thoroughly with a wood spoon.
  5. Cover bowl in plastic wrap and let rise for 30 minutes.
  6. Pre-heat griddle to 300° F. (On our gas griddle, this is about 1 notch above "low." If you have a heavy griddle, like a cast iron one, you'll want to let it pre-heat for a while.)
  7. Add remaining salt and the baking soda and mix thoroughly. (Alton Brown's recipe does not call for baking soda, but apparently adding it will improve the nooks and crannies. I did not use soda, but will try it next time.)
  8. Place several 4" metal rings on the griddle. Spray with vegetable oil. 
  9. Add a scant 1/4 c. of batter to each ring. Cover the rings with a cookie sheet, and let cook for 5 minutes.
  10. Flip the rings using a spatula and tongs, and cook covered for 5 more minutes.
  11. Cool muffins on a rack. Split open with a fork. (You can also just slice them open with a bread knife, but you'll get a more interesting surface if you split with a fork.)
Makes about a dozen muffins.

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