Colonial Kitchen | English Muffins
Yay! A recipe! I apologize for writing about our new farmhouse so often now, but it's consistenly at the forefront of my mind. This is also the first time in a long, long time that I have blogged in real time. It's kind of making my days a hassle; in general, I've gotten my blog scheduling down to a science where I am at least a week and a half ahead of myself, in case you were wondering about the inner workings of that. I think it's been felt a little like upside down for me because I can't seem to find the things that I am used to photographing! My backdrops and tools (sorry to pull the wool from your eyes) are packed away in different places all about. But I think I am pulling through! Truthfully I have felt a bit in a funk since the days have become much shorter and more grey. The light is just not wanting to work with me. I think we all go through that at this time of year.
With all of that in mind, I thought these English muffin photos turned out splendidly! I meant to say earlier that I am absolutely in love with my new kitchen here at the farmhouse. I call it my kitchen because I am generally the person in it cooking! The oven is beautiful and works so well, there's a Viking hood with a heat lamp (comes in handy while making breakfast for warming bacon and pancakes!), and even a dishwasher. We haven't had a dishwasher for well over three years. It's a lifesaver! Oh, first world problems. And even with all of the things, I think my gratitude is causing me to cook/bake better. Everything just tastes greater than it did before. I am, however, missing the fresh eggs from our chickens!
I decided to make some English muffins yesterday for our breakfast. Yum! As a family, when we go out to eat, we tend to choose Americana diners to eat at. I am not sure why. While there, I tend to order breakfast, and I don't think I have ever ordered an English muffin. They are not a common sight around the house either, so making them seemed a bit off for me. I am so glad that I tried it out! They were delicious. So much better than the kind you purchase prepackaged at the store. I wonder if homemade bagels would be just as tasty? The history behind these tiny breakfast breads is quite interesting!
In fact, they aren't very colonial at all. I fail at timing these things yet again! But, as always, I am fascinated by cultural history and odd facts. English muffins, which are called so to distinguish them from "American" muffins (which are just called... muffins. Like the cakey-cupcake version). In England, muffins were often sold by peddlers door to door considering most homes did not have an oven inside. This was the cause of the children's song, "Do You Know the Muffin Man?" Hilarious! The creation of the English muffin? The baker Samuel Bath Thomas emigrated from Plymouth, England to NYC in the late 1800s. By the time he had set up shop on 9th Avenue, he had created a new baked creation which he called the "toaster crumpet." He sold them to hotels and grocery stores, where they were sold pre sliced or pulled apart with a fork. You may recognize his last name from the familiar English muffins prepackaged and sold today!
- 2 1/4 tsp yeast
- 1 tbsp sugar
- 1/2 cup warm water
- 1/2 cup milk
- 2 tbsp butter
- 2 1/2 cups flour
- 3/4 tsp salt
- cornmeal for dusting
- In a glass measuring cup, dissolve the sugar and yeast into the 1/2 cup of warm water. Let sit for 10 minutes or until foaming.
- Over the stove, heat the milk over low heat and mix in the butter until it melts.
- Combine the milk + butter mixture with the yeast mixture in a large bowl.
- With a wooden spoon, begin to mix in the flour and salt. Add the salt first, then a cup of flour. Stir each cup of flour until the dough becomes too difficult to mix with a spoon. If there is some loose flour, that is okay.
- Turn the dough out onto a lightly floured surface and gently begin to the work the extra flour into the dough. Once smooth and elastic, cover with a damp towel and let sit for about 20 minutes.
- Roll the dough out to 1/2 inch thick. With a round biscuit cutter, cookie cutter, or wide mouth glass cut the dough into rounds. Try to cut them as close together as possible! Rolling the dough out a second time will result in a tougher muffin. With the scraps, knead them together again and cut a few more muffins.
- On a baking sheet lined with cornmeal, place the muffins. Sprinkle with more cornmeal. Let them rise in a warm place for 1.5 hours. I like to place them in my oven!
- Once risen, heat a large cast iron skillet. Place 3-4 muffins in the skillet and toast over medium/low heat for about 2-3 minutes per side or when they turn a golden brown color. The muffins are done when they sound hollow when tapped with your finger!
- When cool, split the muffins with a form or a cerated knife. Toast, butter, and eat!
Yum! The next time I make these, I think I may have to invest in a biscuit cutter. I used a wide mouth Ball jar, and while it cut well, it made rather small muffins. I wouldn't mind them a little larger! We ate these with our supper last night toasted with butter alongside our sweet potato + black bean chili. Yum! It feels so nice to be slowing down after our big move, taking a break from sales and making, to make some things for ourselves in our home. I love sharing these recipes with you.
What is your favorite breakfast food?