HOMEMADE ENGLISH MUFFINS
We're big fans of making food from scratch. Especially foods that are so common that most folks don't even think of them as things you can make from scratch. English muffins are a good example. "You mean MAKE english muffins?" is something I've heard a lot (even from people who really know how to cook.) Yes, MAKE english muffins. It's pretty easy, and, surprise, they're better than the ones from the store. Plus, you'll have the satisfaction of knowing you can do it.
makes about 12 muffins
4 cups unbleached all-purpose flour
3 Tablespoons butter
2 cups milk
1 Tablespoon sugar
1 package active dry yeast
2 teaspoons salt
1 1/2 teaspoons baking powder
several Tablespoons coarse cornmeal
In a small saucepan melt the butter with the milk and sugar. Heat just until the butter is melted and the sugar is dissolved. In a large mixing bowl (or the bowl of a stand mixer) combine the flour and salt. Mix the egg and yeast into the milk, butter mixture and add to the flour. Mix well until it's evenly combined. Cover the bowl with plastic wrap or a towel and set in a warm spot to rise for about 1 1/2 hours. In a small bowl mix the baking powder into a splash of water and mix into the muffin batter.
Heat a large skillet (cast iron is great because you can keep it at a nice steady, low heat) over medium-low heat. Sprinkle the skillet liberally with cornmeal. Drop the batter into the skillet in large spoonfuls (about 3 Tablespoons.) You'll get a feel for how much you need to make the size muffins you want. Two skillets or a griddle will allow you to make more at one time. Reduce heat slightly and cook muffins for about 8 minutes on the first side. Lift one up after about 5 minutes to check the color, and lower the heat if it's browning too fast. Flip the muffins and cook on the second side for another 6 to 8 minutes. (It's not a bad idea to make one tester. Cook a muffin, look at the color and the time and the heat, and split it open to make sure it's cooked through and not too doughy inside. Then you'll have a feel for where to keep the heat with your stove and your pan and your batter.)