As usual, I'm running along behind the latest foodie bandwagon yelling 'Wait! Wait for me!'.
English Muffins are everywhere I look, from new cookbooks to blogs to TV shows. Or maybe I just never really paid attention before. Anyway, with the same urge that drives me to knit socks and longingly yearn to make ricotta from scratch, I decided to try to make this rather easily procured and inexpensive item. Just to see if everything really is better homemade: testing the limits, pushing the boundaries, making a mess in the kitchen (because flour = fun!).
Interestingly enough, according to my British source (aka Proper Bacon) these things we call English Muffins are not Muffins in England, and a more apropos name might be crumpet, which is similar in appearance to a pancake, however a British pancake is not actually a pancake but a crepe, whereas a Scottish Pancake is not a crepe or a British pancake but an American pancake.
Confused yet? Me too. And that's without contemplating the thinking man's crumpet, which is something else entirely.
I used Peter Reinhart's recipe, which is straightforward and explained in intricate detail in his cookbook. Dude, it's like 4 pages long. Followed by soft pretzels and crispy rye and seed crackers, both of which call to me. And that's not even getting into the rich breads.
When baking time arrived, I didn't have crumpet rings handy (imagine that), so I used wide-mouth canning jar rings instead, which worked like a charm.
This particular recipe variation is completely cooked on a griddle on top of the stove, in contrast to other variations that combine griddle with baking or just baking. The trick is keeping the burner very low- just about the lowest setting possible - so the muffins cook all the way through without getting too brown, and this takes about 12 minutes on each side.
They look good, taste great, and are easy to make. Fast, not so much. From muffiny glint in the eye to nosh on the plate, 17 hours. Most of this is down time, but still, instant gratification this is not. It might be a fun thing to make once in a while. I think, though, that convenience might just win the day when a muffin emergency strikes. We wouldn't want to disappoint Julia with our muffin snobbery, would we?
Make it pioneer: add butter and strawberry jam.
Make it Jersey: mini pizzas!
Make it rock & roll: Eggs benedict.
Knitting ladies, you were the guinea pigs for this - how were they?