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Baking English Muffins - The Topic


yourmyboyblue
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i cant seem to get the texture right on my english muffins. they are coming out too dense like a pulman loaf. i am looking to achieve that "holey" texture like storebought. do i need more yeast? more water? my dough is on the sticky side and i use about 4 oz. fresh yeast for six pounds flour. i retard it over night, no preferment, 2 oz. portions, balled and proofed, then griddled. any advice would be greatly appreciated!!! thanks

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would you say a preferment is necessary? i get pretty good flavor just proofing it overnight. i use about 4 to 4 1/2 pounds water for six punds flour. so you dont develop the dough all the way?

watermelon lizards catch bass in charleston!

simplicity is the mother of all beauty - Big John's Tavern

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Yeah, plenty. But who makes English muffins? The one time we tried them in school the dough just sat there and did nothing. We refigured the formula and realized the dough had 6% salt. I've made them a bunch of times, but never thought they came out like anything you can buy. Good, but not Wolferman's.

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uh, ive got to imagine that lots of people make english muffins. im trying to get them as good if not better than a commercially produced one. i can get the taste and appearance down, just not the inside texture. are there no other bakers that make english muffins on this forum?????????? :sad:

watermelon lizards catch bass in charleston!

simplicity is the mother of all beauty - Big John's Tavern

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  • 8 months later...

Made English Muffin bread from Reinhard's "Bread Maker's Apprentice." Came out well, but no holes like you get in commercial muffins. His recipe is essentially a slightly enriched white bread (a little butter, a little sugar). He recommends a slightly softer dough and baking "on the rise" to get the holes.

I've also tried recipes from various other authors, all with the same results. I've tried adding baking powder (about 1/2 tsp per pound of flour) as recommended by other authors (like James Beard), and no holes.

How do you get the holes?

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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Made English Muffin bread from Reinhard's "Bread Maker's Apprentice." Came out well, but no holes like you get in commercial muffins. His recipe is essentially a slightly enriched white bread (a little butter, a little sugar). He recommends a slightly softer dough and baking "on the rise" to get the holes.

I've also tried recipes from various other authors, all with the same results. I've tried adding baking powder (about 1/2 tsp per pound of flour) as recommended by other authors (like James Beard), and no holes.

How do you get the holes?

I've never been able to do get them to come out right either.

SB :sad:

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In my search for other levening agents (triggered by a donut post), I ran across this Food Product article that talks about how to get the holes in english muffins. (go just past half way to "The Baker's Rack" section. Looks like it's worth a try.

Thanks. They recommend 1-2% vital gluten (in addition to a high-protein flour) and over-kneading the dough. I'll try both.

If anyone has any other ideas, post them here!

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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Is an English Muffin what I call a Crumpet?

If so Dan Lepard gives a great recipe on page 485 of "The Cooks Book"

They have both yeast and baking soda in them.

Here in Canada crumpets and English muffins are quite distinct and one could not subbed for the other.

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Is an English Muffin what I call a Crumpet?

If so Dan Lepard gives a great recipe on page 485 of "The Cooks Book"

They have both yeast and baking soda in them.

Here in the States, an "English" muffin is a yeasted dough in the shape of a hockey puck, or disk about 3 inches in diameter and perhaps 3/4 inch thick, cooked on a griddle. It's somewhat dense, chewy, and is characterized by holes in the crumb. It's meant to be split and toasted prior to eating. Most English muffin recipes also state that the dough can be baked in a loaf instead of as individual muffins.

edited for clarity.

Edited by JayBassin (log)
He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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If anyone has any other ideas, post them here!

The only idea that came to me when I read this earlier was to possibly replace all or part of the liquids asked for in the recipe with some good beer.

Don't have the slightest idea if it really would *work*, though.

But then there's always the advantage that you could finish off the rest of the bottle of beer that you don't use in the recipe, anyway. :wink:

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Most English muffin recipes also state that the dough can be baked in a loaf instead of as individual muffins.

I like the English Muffin Loaf recipe that came with my Kitchenaid HD Mixer, but it doesn't really make good English muffins per se, even though I bought a set of "genuine" English Muffin Rings!

SB (the rings come in handy for other things though) :shock:

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Ok, I'm confused by the term "english muffin bread."

English muffins, as I know them, are a yeasted dough that is cooked on a griddle, not baked in a loaf. You get the "nooks and crannies" that Thomas' talks about.

I have a nice recipe for "english muffin batter bread" which is a loaf bread that has a nice texture and flavor reminiscent of english muffins, but in loaf form.

I think I may have repeated what is said before, but I wanted to clarify, are you looking for holes in a bread or in the traditional holey griddle-cooked muffin?

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Here in the States, an "English" muffin is a yeasted dough in the shape of a hockey puck, or disk about 3 inches in diameter and perhaps 3/4 inch thick, cooked on a griddle. It's somewhat dense, chewy, and is characterized by holes in the crumb. It's meant to be split and toasted prior to eating. Most English muffin recipes also state that the dough can be baked in a loaf instead of as individual muffins.

edited for clarity.

A crumpet is also about 3 inches round, 3/4 inch thick, made by pouring a yeasted batter with baking soda in it into hot oiled crumpet rings on a hot griddle, It has one flat side, and one side with lots of holes. When cooking, when the bottom has browned and the batter set, it is flipped so the top browns slightly.

Rough proportions for 10:

4 oz strong white flour

2 tsp castor sugar

1 tsp fresh yeast (or rehydrated dried yeast)

pinch salt

2 oz water

4 oz milk

1/2 tsp bicarb (baking soda)

Whizz to make a smooth batter, let stand for 45 mins. Add the baking soda. Cook as above

You toast them in front of an open fire (not split), then spread with good butter The holes sop it up. Some like jam or honey, but I prefer savoury toppings - Marmite or even better Gentlemans Relish (Patem Paperium - anchovy and pepper)

Edited by jackal10 (log)
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My English Muffin Rings came with recipes for both English Muffins and Crumpets. The only difference for Crumpets is "increase the milk from 1/2 cup to 2/3 cup".

SB (might have better luck making Crumpets?) :hmmm:

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As a resident of San Francisco, I got smitten by the idea of creating and caring my own sourdough starter. I was successful in that endeavor, and it followed that I wanted to try out some recipes that would highlight my success - so I initially did a Sourdough French Bread, which turned out almost perfect.

Several months later, I tried to make English Muffins, and they far exceeded my expectations, both for flavor and texture (mouth and visual) - yes, they had those marvelous holes for the buttah!

Here is my recipe:

.3 cup of cold sponge culture (or liquid culture)

6.5 cups flour (I use a medium gluten bread flour, but all purpose seems O.K.)

1.25 cups water

1 cup milk

2.25 teaspoons salt

3.5 Tablespoons melted butter

corn meal

I progressively make an active culture with the sponge and some of the water and flour. Over some 24 hours and two feedings, everything is ready to make the dough.

Mix the milk, salt and butter, and incorporate the remaining flour. I don't try to develop the gluten, it seems to just happen, so kneading isn't a long process.

Roll out to 1/2" thickness, cut with 3-or-4" round cutter, and gently push both sides into some corn meal and place on a cookie sheet for some three (3) hours to rise. If you use commercial yeast, this is probably way too long.

I cook them on the same sheet, rather than on a griddle, as I can cook all 20 at the same time. 450F for about 8 minutes, then flip over for an additional 5 or 6 minutes.

Edited by cmilono (log)

Zymurgy, Cheese Making (and other milk cultures), tempeh, and sourdough - I'm a beneficent dictator of very, very little critters that return their love (and then I eat them)!

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.3 cup of cold sponge culture (or liquid culture)

That was a fascinating recipe! I hope you'll post more about your sourdough baking experiences?

One thing that stuck me was the .3 cup measurement. Did you convert the recipe from weights? Otherwise, where did you find a set of decimal measuring cups?

SB (assumes you are a chemist or pharmacist?) :wink:

Edited by srhcb (log)
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Is an English Muffin what I call a Crumpet?

If so Dan Lepard gives a great recipe on page 485 of "The Cooks Book"

They have both yeast and baking soda in them.

Crumpets and muffins [English] were pretty much the same item, the major difference being the stiffness of the dough. Crumpets are mostly made with a ring as it is more liquid. Both had largish holes.

Commercially produced English muffins in the UK now lack this quality and are pretty much just a bread dough with no real 'holes' to speak of, not really like the origianl product at all.

In the USA there are several makers of English Muffins, which are much more like the original model in that they contain large holes. Ironically, most Englsih peole would not recognise these as being [English] muffins now.

A lot more information on this subject and recipes for both can be found in "English Bread and Yeast Cooking" by Elizabeth David.

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Ok, I'm confused by the term "english muffin bread."

English muffins, as I know them, are a yeasted dough that is cooked on a griddle, not baked in a loaf. You get the "nooks and crannies" that Thomas' talks about.

I have a nice recipe for "english muffin batter bread" which is a loaf bread that has a nice texture and flavor reminiscent of english muffins, but in loaf form.

I think I may have repeated what is said before, but I wanted to clarify, are you looking for holes in a bread or in the traditional holey griddle-cooked muffin?

I've made them on the griddle and in a loaf using the same dough, and I don't get the holes either way.

He who distinguishes the true savor of his food can never be a glutton; he who does not cannot be otherwise. --- Henry David Thoreau
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These are Barley Bannocks made on a griddle, very little gluten in this flour, and you still get bubbles. These are cooked on a very low heat and the holes form very slowly. For muffins E.D. says similar things about the dough, if you want holes it has to be treated gently and a few of the details which I forget. I will look up the book for you tonight and see what she has to say.

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OK this is a breakdown of ED's 'most successful' recipe:

1 lb strong plain flour

1/2 oz yeast

1 level tavlespoon salt

1/2 teaspoon sugar

2 tablespoons of fat (butter, lard or olive oil)

~3/4 pint (420 gm) of milk mixed with water

rice flour for dusting

Weight out flour place in an oven proof bowl and put into a low oven to warm (285F) for ten minutes.

When the flour is warm stir in the salt and creamed yeast, then add the liquids (milk and fat).

Mix the dough with a wooden spoon until elastic (it will be too soft to hand knead).

Place in a covered bowl and allow to rise for 50 minutes.

Break down the dough and divide into portions, gently mould these in to muffins and place on a rice flour dusted non-stick sheet. Dust again. Cover with a sheet of plastic and allow to rise until volume is recovered about 35 minutes.

Cook on a non-stick griddle (or frying pan) over a low heat. They should take 8-10 minutes for each side. If you do this in batches, keep them warm in the oven.

She thinks that it is the pre-warming of the flour and the oil that gives them there correct texture. The dusting with starch (in this case corn flour) is essential as it dries out the surface.

Good luck!

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