Sunday, March 14, 2010

How to eat an English Muffin?

English muffins have always been my favourite Sunday breakfast, long before they are found on the breakfast menus of American fast food restaurants worldwide. They have now made a well deserved comeback in our kitchen, as a breakfast meal of egg (fried, scrambled, poached or steam-poached) with bacon or sausages for my teenage son. As for me, they are most often toasted and then topped with butter and jam or honey. I can still remember Mrs Otley who was from Yorkshire in England, dutifully taught me how a muffin was served and eaten during my stay with her. This is how I've been taught. After being toasted on both sides, the muffin should be pulled apart with your hands but never cut through with a knife. The edges may be slit to make the pulling operation easier. Thinly slice some firm butter and place the pieces of butter between the two halves that were pulled apart in the middle; they are then left on a hot plate and set in a warm place to allow the butter to melt through before serving. Although muffins are readily available in the supermarkets, I always maintain that nothing is comparable to Mrs Otley's homemade muffins. I have inherited the Mrs. Otley's muffin recipe but I could not make them like she did. She cooked her muffins on rings set hot greased iron girdle; cook over slow to moderate heat on the cook top of the stove. Since I do not have a girdle, my alternative is to cook in the oven for about 20-25 minutes.

Mrs.Otley's English Muffin Recipe.

600 gm plain flour
1 tsp salt
450ml milk
1 1/2 tsp of dry yeast
Grease the muffin rings. Sift the flour and salt into a warm mixing bowl. Heat the milk to lukewarm and dissolve the yeast in the milk.Make a well in the centre of the flour, pour in the yeast mixture and mix to a soft dough. Cover and leave about 40-45 minutes to rise. Once the dough is well risen, divide into 12 even sized pieces; pat these lightly on a well-floured board in the shape of the muffin ring, putting one piece into each greased ring on a baking sheet lined tray. Cook in a pre-heated oven of 190 C /375 F for about 20-25 minutes. Muffins must not be too well browned because they have to be toasted before serving. To serve, toast on both sides, pull them apart and butter as directed.

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