Homemade English muffins are such a treat! This year on Christmas Day we are having brunch instead of dinner, and this recipe of Wendyl’s from our archives will be perfect to serve. What could be better than delicious soft white muffins straight off the griddle with home made berry jam and mock cream.
It is thought that English muffins may go back as far as the 10th century, but they didn’t really become fashionable until the 18th century when they were served at breakfast. Later in the 19th century they were a must-have addition to high tea and the “muffin man” was a common sight, selling them door to door.
Like all yeast bread you’ll need a nice warm place and plenty of time to let the dough rise, but cooking them couldn’t be easier and you’ll be bugged by your family to make them again and again – they’re that tasty.
3/4 cup Milk
3/4 cup Water
1 tsp Sugar
3 tsp Dried yeast granules
4 cups High grade flour
1 tsp salt
1 Egg, beaten
2 Tbsp Butter
Heat the milk until lukewarm, then pour it into a small bowl or jug. Add the water and sugar. The liquid should be warm to touch but not hot. Stir to dissolve the sugar, then sprinkle the yeast over. Cover the bowl with a tea towel and let it sit somewhere warm like a hot water cupboard. It’s ready when it’s frothy and smells of yeast – it should take about 10 minutes.
Meanwhile, sift the flour and salt into a large bowl. When the yeast mixture is ready, pour it into the centre of the flour along with the beaten egg and melted butter. Mix together to form a soft dough. You may need to add a little more flour if it is too sticky, but you want it soft and pliable, not firm.
Tip out onto a floured board and knead for about 10 minutes until the dough is elastic. Use the base of your palm to push the dough away then fold it back in on itself, repeating the action.
Warm the bowl the dough was in by rinsing it with warm water, then dry and grease it with butter. Pop the dough back in, cover with a tea towel and put in a warm place for about an hour or until it has doubled in size.
When the dough is ready, knead for a minute then roll it out to about 1cm thickness. Use a cookie cutter to cut out the muffins, then place on a floured tray in a warm place for about half an hour until have become puffy.
To cook, use a griddle, a heavy cast-iron frying pan or an electric frying pan. The secret is not to rush them. You need to use a low to medium heat. Melt a little butter then place the muffins on the heat and leave for at least five minutes. They need time to cook through – you’ll know they are ready to turn when they have puffed up quite a bit and the underside is golden brown. Turn over, then cook for five minutes on the other side. Serve hot or toast when cool.