I’m still keen on doing bread from scratch with the kids – and learning more about bread science. I think it has heaps to offer in terms of learning.
I’m going to practice this one or two more times then do it with the kids – I reckon two batches would be too much for 30 children!
I’m pretty excited about these – the recipe is a really good one; light and fluffy with exactly that crumb that I expect in good muffins… and tasty… and they even have a slight seam!
English Muffins (x8 large muffins)
2 tsp dried yeast granules
1/2 tsp sugar
250 ml warm water (I would call it luke warm – slightly warmer than body temperature!)
125ml warm milk
350g high grade flour
100g standard flour
1 tsp salt
rice flour or cornmeal (fine grain, I reckon – we used medium and it was a bit too grainy)
* Put the yeast and sugar in a small bowl with half of the warm water. Stir and set aside for a few minutes [you’ll see the bubbles forming when the yeast is getting busy], then add the remaining water and the milk. Put the flours and salt in a large bowl and use your hand to mix in the yeast, water and milk mixture [My baker partner added the liquid to the flour to check the consistency, then added the salt after].
* Knead the mixture, which will be sticky, thoroughly in the bowl. (Or use the dough hook of an electric mixer.) [Baker man says: flour your hands, not the dough. Knead two minutes, rest 1 minute (in a tight ball under a bowl) and keep going until you’ve kneaded for 12 minutes.]
* Cover the bowl with a damp teatowel and set aside to rise until more than doubled. Although this may take only a couple of hours, the dough can be allowed to rise overnight [we took one hour in the microwave – which was a new trick for me: put a cup of hot, boiling water in the microwave for a while, door closed, then remove the cup and put the dough in (door closed = mini proofer!!!)]
* Deflate the dough by pulling it away from the sides of the bowl. Lift it out of the bowl and divide into 8 pieces.
* Drop each piece on a tray liberally dusted with rice flour or cornmeal and roll them over until well coated. Form each piece into a thick disk. Place the discs on a baking tray and place another tray on top. [Note: to make good discs, the baker showed me to throw the piece of dough on the bench, press down hard on it and start rolling it around (keeping the bottom side in contact with the bench); you start easing back to a gentle grip and this creates a ball of dough]
* Leave to rest and rise for 20 minutes, then remove the covering tray.
* Place a cast-iron griddle or large frying pan over a low heat. When only moderately hot, place 4 of the muffins on it and cook for about 10 minutes until light beige on the bottom. Turn the muffins over and cook the second side for a similar length of time. Wrap the cooked muffins in a dry teatowel. Pull apart with your fingers and eat while still warm. For toasting, pull the muffins apart and toast on both sides.
Quality Bakers Muffin splits
Compared with my favourite bought split muffins (and the ones we get the kids)… These muffins have “Wheat flour, wat, yeast, sugar, wheat gluten, iodised salt, soy flour, emulsifiers (471, 481), preservative (200), acidity regulator (260)” (I’d have to find out exactly what the numbers refer to – just cos these chemicals are identified by number, doesn’t necessarily mean they’re anything special/absent from the home kitchen).
These muffins have 300mg sodium per 100g.