I bought a copy of Bill Granger’s new book Bill’s Basics a couple of weeks ago. It is full to the brim of Bill’s 100 favourite recipes covering everything from chocolate chip cookies and baked lemon cheesecake to thai beef salad and french onion soup. As Bill is such a breakfast champion I decided to make something from the breakfast section first. There were so many great sounding choices but I was intrigued by the recipe for homemade english muffins – and that’s what I woke up bright and early this morning to make!
It is really easy to make your own english muffins and they taste infinitely better than the ones you can purchase at the supermarket. And I finally learnt what gives them that strangely appealing dusty feel (polenta). Want to make them yourself? Here’s how…
(recipe adapted from Bill Granger’s book Bill’s Basics)
- 2 tsp instant yeast (equivalent to a 7g sachet)
- 1/2 tsp baking soda (bicarbonate of soda)
- 4 C (600g) plain flour
- 1 1/4 C (300mL) warm water
- 2 egg whites
- 1 1/2 tsp sea salt
- polenta for dusting
Combine the yeast, baking soda, water and half the flour. Leave for at least five minutes. In the meantime beat the eggs until they form stiff peaks. Fold the eggs into the dough.
Slowly add the salt and the remaining flour into the mixing bowl. When the dough thickens, tip out onto your bench and start kneading. Knead until the dough becomes smooth, this will take about ten minutes. Put the dough back into the bowl and cover with cling wrap. Leave it in a warmish area until it doubles in size, this will take about an hour.
Roll the dough out to a thickness of about 2 cm and leave to rest for a couple of minutes. Dust the surface of a baking tray with some of the polenta. Use a circular pastry cutter (I used a 6 cm cutter to make mini muffins but feel free to use a bigger one) to cut out pastry circles. Re-roll any remaining dough to make extra muffins. Place them on the tray and dust with some extra polenta. Cover with cling wrap and leave for 45 minutes for the dough to continue proving.
Put a large frypan over medium heat and drizzle with a little oil. Cook the muffins in batches, they will only take a couple of minutes each side. Allow to cool slightly on a wire rack before eating. It will be really easy to pull the muffins apart with your fingers, but if you can’t use a fork. It’s better than using a knife as you don’t destroy all the little chewy nooks and crannies!
While cooking the muffins I quickly whipped up some scrambled eggs on S’s request. So delicious, and totally worth waiting for all the muffins to rise!