Tuesday, April 26, 2011

Rosie Makes Julia Child's Homemade English Muffins.

Mr. Hawthorne and I were considering our options
for Friday morning breakfast on Thursday afternoon. That's what we do. We plan our next meal while we are having our current meal. We had spinach in the fridge, the ham Mr. Hawthorne had made Thursday night, some egg yolks leftover from Mr. Hawthorne's egg white omelets that he's going to come back and negate all that healthy white albumen with some wonderful, rich, yellow, cholesterol-rich yolks. Yay, Mr. Hawthorne! Come back to the light! If you haven't figured out what I'm making yet, it's Eggs Hawthorne - my version of Eggs Benedict. The only thing seminal to this preparation that I don't have is the English muffins. Not to worry. I turned to my well-worn copy of Julia Child & Company. Page 166. Homemade English Muffins.
 Julia's recipe:
1 TB active dry yeast dissolved in 1/2 cup warm water
  2 tablespoons instant mashed potatoes softened in 1/2 cup boiling water
 or 4 TB grated raw potato simmered until tender
1 cup cold milk
 2-1/2 cups all-purpose flour
1-1/2 teaspoons salt dissolved in 3 tablespoons warm water
 2 to 3 tablespoons softened butter 
  Directions: While the yeast was dissolving, I cooked my grated potatoes in boiling water to cover. Beat the yeast mixture and the milk into the flour. Cover with plastic wrap and let rise, until large bubbles appear on the surface - about 1 1/2 hours. Stir batter down, then beat in salt, beating vigorously for a minute. Cover and let rise again, until bubbles appear on the surface - about 1 hour. To cook the muffins, generously butter the inside of your rings or tins. Butter your skillet over medium heat. Ladle the batter into the rings. Should be about 3/8 inch thick to make a muffin twice that. Batter should be heavy, sticky sluggish, but not runny, having just enough looseness to be spread out into the ring. The muffins are to cook slowly on one side until bubbles, which form near the bottom of the muffin, pierce through the top surface, and until almost the entire top changes from a wet ivory white to a dryish gray color; this will take 6 or 8 minutes or more, depending on the heat. Now the muffins are to be turned over for a brief cooking on the other side, and at this point you can probably lift the rings off them; if not, turn them over and dislodge rings ... Less than a minute is usually enough for the cooking the second side, which needs only a token browning and drying out. Cool the muffins on a rack.
I have Julia's book opened to page 166 - Homemade English Muffins.
 I'm using King Arthur flour - 2 1/2 cups
 1 packet yeast
 1/2 cup warm water
1 cup milk
 2 small red potatoes, to be grated and cooked
I poured my yeast into the warm water.
I always proof my yeast. Julia didn't. Stir in a teaspoon of sugar in the yeast/warm water. And wait ...
Wait for it to bubble and foam. That means the yeast is active and hungry and eating. If you have no proofing and effervescence, then toss the mixture - it's no good - and try another yeast packet. You want to know if your yeast is good AHEAD of time - before you add in all the other ingredients.
While the yeast was proofing, I grated my two little red potatoes.
Barely covered the potatoes with a water and brought to a boil. Cooked until tender.
I added my milk to the flour.
Cooked potatoes into the flour mix.
Warm water and proofed foamy yeast into the mix.
Mix well. Cover with plastic wrap and ...
... and let rise about 1 1/2 hours. You want big bubbles on the surface. "It must be bubbly," Julia says, "however long it takes." We have bubbly in 1 1/2 hours.
Peel the plastic back.

Stir down the batter.
Stir in the salt, cover with plastic, and let rise again.
Here it is in one hour later.
Lots of bubbles. Lookin' good.
I'd previously buttered the inside of my biscuit cutters and melted butter in my skillet. Now, I'm ladling my batter into the rings.

After about 6-8 minutes, carefully pull off tins.

Invert muffins and cook on the other side.

Rosie made a second batch.

As is true with most batters - crepes, pancakes, and muffins - the first batch is not the prettiest. Note Muffin #1 in hand compared to Muffins #2 in pan. But you need that first batch to season everything for what's to come.
Turnover and cook the other side.

In between batches, my pan got a little too hot. I'm letting it cool off.
I'm starting my third batch of muffins.

My English muffins.
I'm saving most of these for breakfast tomorrow- Eggs Hawthorne.
But Youngest Hawthorne wanted some for dinner - baked ham, a homemade English muffin, a mashed potato nest with green pea eggs, and corn. Stay tuned for Rosie's Homemade Sausage Biscuits and Eggs Hawthorne tomorrow for breakfast.

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