Finally, after two challenges that I had little interest in (the Cornbread and Cranberry-Walnut Bread challenges) I was definitely psyched up to do this one. Why? Well, two quick reasons off of the top of my head: first, I am a serious lover of the English Muffin. Second, this challenge had a odd component that broke things up nicely – you have to use a griddle. After weeks of just using the oven to bake the bread in a conventional fashion, I found this a nice needed twist on the process a well needed break from standard operating procedure.
As I’ll discuss below, English Muffins are actually suprisingly simple to make. I thought it would be more difficult, but it wasn’t. So that was a big plus. On the other hand, although I liked the product, I was a little disppointed - I was hoping they would come out a lot lighter and airier than they turned out to be. (As always, as my fellow BBAers stream in, such as Joanne and Nancy, Coz and Jim, I’ll quick link to their products here).
As I mentioned, these are pretty easy to make, at all stages of the process. Still, because I think of difficulty level in terms off the newbie, I’ll rate these as novice. I think to do them right requires a more hydrated dough, which is tough to handle, and the griddling is a bit odd for a novice, I would think.
Comments on the Process
English Muffins has three steps, I’ll say. (a) dough and rise, (b) griddle, (c) bake.
Step One – Dough and Rise
Comments on the Final Product
The English Muffins are good. I’m just thinking that they can be quite a bit better with some tweaking. With this in mind, I just want to point out a few issues here with the final product. Before mentioning these, here’s a final shot of a toasted English Muffin:
1. Not airy enough. Now I went to 80% hydration, which is super high. But the crumb was denser than I figured it would be. What else should you do? Higher hydration still? Or is it the milk? Should you use water instead?
2. I’m not sure I’d eat these out of the oven. They strike me as done in the way that an English Muffin you buy in the store is done. Meaning: ready for the toaster, not meant to be eaten out of the bag. I’d apply the same rule here. I wonder whether older BBAers ate them out of the oven, because there were a lot of complaints about the insides not being done right. If you eat them without toasting them, you might have the same impression.
3. When you toast them, beware of the quick burn factor. I found it very difficult to toast these, even lightly, without burning them on the outsides. This may be because I griddled for 8 minutes. When I do these again, I’ll griddle for 5 min, and see if that helps. I think it would.
Well, that’s it. Let’s get on to the next bread!
Next Week: Foccacia
I’m definitely super excited to do this one. One, because it’s Italian, and you know how I am about Italian food. Two, because I just love Foccacia, and I can’t imagine it’s all that simple to make correctly, so I think this is going to be a challenge. I’m looking forward to it! I haven’t decided whether to go with the regular one or the pizza one. I typically go plain at first, just to get a feel for the recipe, but this time I’m not sure. I’m feelin’ the pull towards the pizza one.
See you next week!