Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Light Wheat English Muffins

Soft, flat buns full of nooks and crannies, English Muffins make a great breakfast or lunch sandwich even a great snack.

I love homemade English muffins.  They are so much better than what you find at the store and they are generally better for you.  My English muffins do not always turn out perfectly round but they always taste great.  I have made them with all white flour before and they are great, but this time I wanted to add some whole wheat.  These light wheat English muffins are wonderful.  I am eventually going to try completely whole wheat muffins, and I'm also working out plans for cinnamon raisin.  This recipe comes from Peter Reinhart's The Bread Baker's Apprentice I modified it slightly by using part whole wheat flour.

Ingredients: (measured by weight except yeast)

3 oz whole wheat flour
7 oz bread flour
.25 oz honey
.19 oz salt
2 tsp active dry yeast
.5 oz shortening or butter, room temperature
6-8 oz milk, buttermilk, or kefir, warm about 90-100F

First heat the milk (I used kefir--I think it is a good substitute for buttermilk).  I used the microwave for about 15-30 seconds until the kefir reached 100F, no more than 115F (if you don't have a thermometer it should feel warm to the touch but not hot).  Sprinkle the yeast over the warm milk and mix gently.  Let stand for about 15 minutes until bubbly.  If you have instant yeast you can skip this step and add the yeast to the flour.

When yeast is active, pour milk mixture into the bowl of a stand mixer.  Then add the flour, honey, salt, and shortening.  Stir, using the paddle attachment, until ingredients are thoroughly mixed and form a ball. Dough should be soft.

Switch to the dough hook and knead for about 8-10 minutes, sprinkling with more flour until the dough is tacky and elastic but not sticky.

Transfer dough to an oiled bowl, rolling to coat all sides, cover with plastic wrap, and let rise for 1 hour to 1 1/2 hour until dough doubles in size.

Divide the dough into 6 pieces (about 3 oz each).  Form each piece into a boule.  Line a sheet pan with parchment, lightly oil the parchment and dust with corn meal (I don't always have corn meal and just oiling the parchment is fine).  Place the dough balls on the parchment about 3 inches apart, spray with oil, and cover with plastic wrap.

Proof for 60-90 minutes or until doubled in size.

Heat a skillet or griddle (I use a cast iron skillet but a griddle pan would be perfect) to medium or about 350F.  Also preheat the oven to 350.

Lightly oil the skillet and gently transfer the dough to the pan.  The best way I do this is to oil a metal spatula and gently slide it under a dough round, lift it and slide it into the pan.  Keep the pieces at least 1 inch apart and cook for 5-8 minutes.  The dough browns pretty quickly, but do not flip too soon, it will  not burn for a while (if the skillet is the proper temperature.  I've had to adjust mine because my stove isn't very accurate medium low, almost lo is the right temp for my stove--it runs too hot, it's old).  When the bottom of the dough can no longer cook with out burning, gently flip it.  Cook for 5-8 minutes more and then immediately transfer to the preheated oven and bake for a final 5-8 minutes on the middle shelf.  Return to the rest of the dough balls and repeat the process.

Cool for at least 30 minutes before slicing and serving.  If you want the nooks and crannies pierce the English muffin all around the sides instead of using a knife to slice it.  Enjoy.

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