Older Daughter has been after me to make English muffins, which she far prefers to the store-bought variety. I roped her into the procedure so she could learn how to make them.
The recipe comes from my classic Better Homes and Gardens cookbook:
Heating the milk, shortening, sugar, and salt to between 120 and 130F.
Mixing the rest of the ingredients.
Ready for the first rising.
Rolling and cutting the muffins.
While I cut the muffins using an old tuna can...
...Older Daughter brushes each muffin on both sides with water, then dips the sides in cornmeal.
I doubled the recipe, which yielded 36 muffins.
Into the oven for the second rising (sorry for the blurry photo). The oven has a pilot light and stays warmish as a result, a good place to let dough rise.
English muffins are "baked" on the stove, not in the oven. Cook them in a dry (ungreased) pan or griddle for about thirty minutes, flipping them every five minutes.
First batch done. (This is the stage when the kids steal hot muffins and spread them with butter so it melts.)
These freeze very well, so it's worth making at least a double batch.
Here's the recipe:
5 1/4 to 5 1/2 cups flour
2 pkgs active dry yeast
2 cups milk
1/2 cup shortening, margarine, or butter
2 tablespoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups of the flour and the yeast. In a saucepan, heat and stir milk, shortening, sugar, and salt until warm (120-130F)(I heat this up gently in the microwave) until the shortening almost melts. Add to flour mixture. Beat with a mixer on low speed for three minutes. Using a spoon, stir in as much of the remaining flour as you can.
Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Knead in enough remaining flour to make a moderately stiff dough that is smooth and elastic (6 to 8 minutes). Shape into a ball. Place in a greased bowl; turn once to grease surface. Cover and let rise in a warm place until double (about one hour).
Punch dough down. Turn out onto a lightly floured surface. Cover and let rest ten minutes. Roll dough to slightly less than 1/2 inch thick. Cut with a 4-inch round cutter, rerolling scraps. Lightly brush muffins with water and dip both sides into cornmeal. Cover, let rise in a warm place until very light (about 30 minutes).
Cook muffins in an ungreased pan on low temp for 30 minutes, turning every 5 minutes. Yield: about 18 muffins.