I'm a creature of habit when it comes to breakfast. My trusty standbys range from fresh fruit with Greek yogurt and crunchy granola to Honey Nut Cheerios or hard boiled eggs. But one of my all time favorites has to be English muffins. I even have a toaster oven in my cubicle at work specifically for this purpose. Is there anything better than the smell and taste of a freshly toasted muffin smothered in butter? I think not.
Recently I received a copy of "Cook It In Cast Iron" from my friends at Cook's Country. If ever there was a versatile workhorse in your kitchen it would be a cast-iron skillet. And the fact that you can buy a fantastic one for under $35 makes it all the more appealing.
Cast iron is renowned for it's heat retention which makes it ideal for frying and searing on the stove top, but did you know it's also great for baking? Me neither! As I was browsing through the cookbook I was amazed at the number of bread and biscuit recipes there were but the one that immediately caught my eye was for English muffins. I'd never dreamed of making this breakfast staple at home but why not give it a try?
Believe me when I tell you I am now a convert to homemade English muffins, especially when they bake up so fluffy, tall and delicious. Don't be intimidated by this recipe at all because it's really straight forward and easy to follow. All I can say now is, Thomas' who???
Here's your chance to make them at home yourself. Two lucky readers will win a free copy of Cook It In Cast Iron from Cook's Country. All you have to do is leave your email address in the comments section of this post and I'll randomly select two winners. Deadline for entry is Fri April 22, 2016. Only one email per entry. NOTE: You must have a U.S. mailing address, sorry, no international addresses. Good Luck!
Makes 12 muffins
1 cup warm whole milk (110 degrees Fahrenheit)
1/3 cup warm water (110 degrees Fahrenheit)
3 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
3 tablespoons honey
2 1/4 teaspoon instant or rapid-rise yeast
3 1/2 cups (19 1/4 ounces) bread flour, plus extra as needed
2 teaspoons salt
3/4 cup cornmeal (3 3/4 ounces)
Whisk milk, water, melted butter, honey, and yeast together in 2-cup liquid measuring cup until yeast dissolves. Whisk flour and salt together in bowl of stand mixer. Using dough hook with mixer on low speed, slowly add milk mixture and mix until dough comes together, about 2 minutes. Increase speed to medium and continue to mix until dough is smooth and elastic, about 8 minutes. (If after 4 minutes dough is still very sticky, add 1 to 2 tablespoons extra flour; dough should clear sides of bowl but stick to bottom.)
Transfer dough to lightly floured counter and knead by hand to form smooth, round ball, about 1 minute. Place dough in large, lightly greased bowl, cover tightly with greased plastic wrap, and let rise until doubled in size, 1 to 1 1/2 hours.
Sprinkle 1/2 cup cornmeal in rimmed baking sheet. Transfer dough to clean counter and shape into 12-inch log. Divide log into 12 equal sizes and cover with greased plastic. Working with 1 piece of dough at a time (keep other pieces covered), round dough into smooth, taut balls. Arrange dough balls on prepared sheet, spaced about 1 1/2 inches part. Cover dough balls with plastic and let rise until nearly doubled in size, 45 to 75 minutes.
Adjust oven rack to lower-middle position and heat oven to 350 degrees. Line second rimmed baking sheet with parchment paper. Using greased metal spatula, press dough balls into flat, 3/4-inch-thick rounds (about 3 inches in diameter). Dust tops of muffins with remaining 1/4 cup cornmeal.
Heat 12-inch cast-iron skillet over medium heat for 3 minutes. Place 4 muffins in skillet and cook until deep golden brown on first side, 1 to 3 minutes, occasionally pressing down on muffins with spatula to prevent doming.
Flip muffins, reduce heat to medium-low, and continue to cook until well browned on second side, 1 to 2 minutes. Transfer muffins to parchment paper-lined baking sheet. Repeat with remaining muffins in 2 batches, wiping skillet clean before each batch; transfer to sheet.
Bake until muffins are fully set and register 210 degrees, 15 to 20 minutes. Transfer muffins to wire rack and let cool for 20 minutes before splitting with fork and toasting. Serve. (Cooled, unsplit English muffins be stored in zipper-lock bag for up to 2 days.)