RHRW Note: Welcome my first guest blogger, Danielle. She is an English professor and a dear long-distance friend. We agree with her self-assessment about her frugality, but love her anyway.
I am, shall we say, frugal. Some — my husband, good friends, acquaintances forced to dine out with me — would call me cheap. I am, however, willing to pay for good, high-quality food. What will remain an unnamed brand of English muffins, however, does not count as high-quality food. So when my local grocery store raised the price of English muffins to $4.50/package, I decided to make my own, something that I’d never made before.
Even though I’d never made English muffins, I am not a novice baker. Much like our resident blogger (see Knotted Dinner Rolls), I spent many years in 4-H baking. I love to cook. I like to bake. The time requirements often keep me from pursuing it more often than I do. On a rainy Sunday afternoon with some time on my hands while I waited for students’ papers to come in during finals week, I experimented with the English muffin.
These came out well. They’re approximately the same size as store-bought muffins. They had the requisite “nooks and crannies” I look for, they were 100% whole wheat, and there were no preservatives, a win all around. Though there is a bit of sugar in here, honey or agave syrup would work well too.
100% Whole Wheat English Muffins
Adapted from Food Network
Makes 9 muffins
1 cup warm skim milk
1 Tb sugar
1 tsp. salt
1 Tb canola oil
1 envelope active dry yeast
1/8 tsp. sugar
1/3 cup lukewarm water
1 cup whole wheat flour
1 cup white whole wheat flour
Special equipment: 3-inch metal baking rings. You can purchase specialty baking rings at most stores that sell cooking equipment. I used the rings of quart jars used for canning. Tuna cans with the top and bottom cut out would work too, or even rings made out of aluminum foil.
In a bowl, combine warm milk, sugar, salt, and oil. Stir to dissolve salt and sugar.
In a separate small bowl, combine yeast, sugar, and lukewarm water. Stir to dissolve yeast. Mix yeast mixture with milk mixture.
Put flours in a medium to large bowl, and add the liquid mixture. Mix with a wooden spoon until the flour and milk mixture is thoroughly combined. Let rest for 30 minutes in a warm place. The dough will be batter-like in its consistency and considerably stickier than any bread dough you’ve worked with before. It is not meant to be rolled or kneaded.
Preheat oven to 350 degrees. Heat nonstick pan or griddle on stove top on medium-low heat. Dust bottom of the pan with cornmeal. Coat metal rings with non-stick spray, dust with corn meal, and place in the pan.
Pour 1/4 to 1/2 cup batter in each ring. Cover pan with a lid or cookie sheet. Cook muffins for 7 minutes on each side. Author’s note: I recommend cooking one muffin first to check the timing, then cook as many as your non-stick skillet will allow you to. I could cook 4 muffins at a time. If you have a griddle (and rings) that allow you to cook more, do so. It will speed up the process considerably.
Remove muffin from ring and place muffin a cooling rack placed over a cookie sheet. When all muffins are finished cooking on the stovetop, bake for 7 additional minutes to finish cooking through. Let cool completely.