I’ve got a thing for English Muffins. Not a weird thing, but a thing. Sure, I love them toasted and dripping with earth balance, but they’re also great for quick sandwiches or for a burger bun. I’m convinced that it’s the texture, along with the mellow flavor…and in spite of Alton Brown who says you need milk protein to get nooks and crannies, I set out to try. Soy milk does the trick as long as you add a few tricks. 4 batches later……here you go! It’s adapted from Alton’s recipe and several others that are online.
Before you start grabbing ingredients, let me warn you about the shaping. Chances are you don’t have english muffin rings (who does?), but you can improvise and make rings out of foil held together with a paper clip. If you don’t mind a more rustic look, ditch the rings all together and just pour them free form.
8 – 10 muffins
1 1/2 cups warm water
1 tablespoon sugar
2 teaspoons active dry yeast
1/2 cup soy milk, warmed
1 1/2 cups bread flour
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 teaspoon salt
1 teaspoon baking soda
cornmeal for dusting
oil for the pan
Combine the water, sugar and yeast in a small bowl. Stir and set aside until the yeast is active.
In a medium bowl, combine the flours. Add the yeast mixture and the warmed soy milk (not too hot, just not refrigerator cold) to the flours and mix together. The mixture will be wet. Cover with a piece of plastic and a towel and let rise about 45 minutes in a warm place. It probably won’t be doubled, but it will be bubbly.
Heat a lightly oiled skillet or griddle to medium heat, or around 300 degrees. Stir the salt and baking soda into the batter and mix well. Drop by scant 1/3 cup measures onto the griddle. (If you’re using rings, place them in the pan and then fill them with the batter, spreading it to the edges the best you can.) If they are too thick, they won’t be able to cook inside. Sprinkle the top with about 1/4 teaspoon cornmeal. Cook for 5 to 10 minutes, until lightly browned, then turn over to cook other side. Keep cooking until they sound hollow, adjusting the heat if you need to. Cool on a rack.
If you break into one and it isn’t done, you can bake these in the oven for an additional 10 – 12 minutes at 350. As I got toward the ends of the batches, I noticed I lost a little patience with the cooking on the stove, and this saved the day.
So from what I can tell, the keys are wet batter and adding the salt/baking soda immediately before pouring. If you give them a try, let me know! Here are my fancy dancy foil rings in action:
Really, they weren’t worth the effort. After getting this shot, I quit using them. If you do use them, be sure to oil the insides lightly.
One more thing: don’t forget the contest! I’ll leave it open for a couple more days, so comment there if you haven’t already.
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