Wednesday, June 10, 2009

A Better (not perfect) English Muffin

My first attempt at making english muffins wasn't the result of a sudden burst of creative energy, or the need to challenge my somewhat monotonous bread-baking repetoire. To tell you the truth, making my own english
muffins was never something that even crossed my mind until I read this. Even then, after I'd starred the article in my Google Reader feed for future reference it still seemed like one of those things that weren't reaaaally worth doing at home.

That was until Victoria day weekend. We were planning on making Eggs Benedict at home on the Monday morning and as sad as this sounds, it was probably the thing I was most looking forward to all weekend. We had plans to visit a friend's new condo on Sunday, so the plan was to stop at our 24-hour Sobeys on the way home to pick up the necessary english muffins. But of course, I hadn't factored in the fact that after midnight it was technically MONDAY and therefore a holiday, and Sobeys was closed. Damn.

So....I was faced with the choice of either making my own english muffins, or postponing the much-anticipated eggs benedict. And of course the latter wasn't really an option. So I decided to go for it. And they were good! The texture was all there - fluffy, holey and they easily split open with a fork. Amazing. But, the flavour was somewhat lacking. They definitely didn't have that sour tang I'm used to from store-bought muffins. I decided that next time (and there would be a next time) I would look for a recipe that addressed my issue.

Enter The Bread Bible. One of the things that Berenbaum specifies in her book is the use of a sponge, starter, or biga in her breads. This helps to add a natural flavour, or tang to the bread. After a short-lived attempt at making my own sourdough starter (which was a complete failure) this seemed to be a better and easier way.

And...these english muffins were delicious. The flavour was perfect - buttery with that slight sourness I missed in the first bath. But the texture was all wrong. I'm not sure if I did something wrong in the instructions or overworked the dough but these muffins were flat and had almost no nooks and crannies. So I guess I'm halfway time I'm going to have to try and combine the two recipes and see what happens. The search continues.

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