July 29, 2009

The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge 12: English Muffins

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English Muffin Loaf

The recipe for English Muffins, the 12th in The Bread Baker's Apprentice Challenge is very different from the recipes I use for making English muffins. Those recipes including PR's test recipe have the consistency of thick pancake batter which cannot be shaped into balls or they will spread out all over the place. The batter is measured and poured into crumpet rings set on a preheated griddle. Baking soda mixed with water is added just before cooking the muffins which helps create the must have sponge-like "nooks and crannies" for an authentic looking English Muffins. Without the holes the muffins will just be an ordinary flat round white bread. This Alton Brown's recipe which I still have to try looks okay but has a very short rising period.

I was reluctant to make the BBA's English muffins knowing I will be disappointed if they come out without air pockets. I decided to make it into a loaf which the book says is an option. I used whole wheat Indian-type ATTA flour for all of the flour. Atta flour has a slightly higher protein content than bread flour. I got the atta flour, which is grown and milled right here in the US, from a Korean grocery store. After shaping the dough into a loaf I rolled it on fine corn meal and sprinkled some more on top.

It was a pleasant surprise to find that the bread slices have nooks and crannies with soft but chewy flavorful crumb, and the crust is crunchy when toasted and therefore have the same qualities of really good English muffins. I'm not sure if the flour had anything to do with the texture and flavor but I will make this loaf again when I feel like whole wheat-y English muffins or when I get the munchies for Sausage Egg Muffin Sandwich.

English Muffin Loaf
look at all the nooks and crannies to catch all the creamy raw honey or butter

Sausage Egg Muffin Sandwich
better than you-know-where Sausage Egg McMuffin

Rating (whole wheat):
flavor 4
texture 4
visual appeal 4
ease of preparation 4
performance 4
worth 4
Total: 24
Average: 4

I felt I was being unfair for prejudging the recipe just by reading it. After a few days I made the round ones and just as I thought, the muffins don't have air pockets, are very soft like white bread and not chewy at all. I actually like the rolls, they are very tasty but I won't call them English muffins.

too soft and fine-crumbed

Rating (rounds)
flavor 4
texture 1
visual appeal 3
ease of preparation 4
performance 3
worth 1
Total: 16
Average: 2.66


Susie said...

Your bread AND muffins look great too me especially the honey butter. :)
Have fun,

The Missing Piece said...

Excellent post. Thanks for making both the bread and muffins. Would you mind sharing your English Muffin recipe? (the one you pour into rings)

Your bread looks awesome!

Cindy said...

Never heard of ATTA flour. I'll have to check it out. Your photos are mouth watering!

Oggi said...

Susie, thanks and have a great road trip.:)

Tammy, thanks. I emailed you the recipe.:)

Cindy, check out your local Indian grocery store. I suggest the clear fine atta which is slightly yellowish.

Unknown said...

Your bread looks delicious and that PR recipe for english muffins I'd like to try. Which recipe did you use for the loaf of atta bread? My muffins looked like yours, not english muffins, but nice bread buns. Kind of disappointing. My husband's English and just laughs at this "English Muffin" recipe, no such thing in England, he says.

Oggi said...

Muffy X, thanks. I used the BBA English muffin recipe for the atta loaf.
We have English muffins, they have crumpets which I really love with butter and honey.:)

Janice said...

I just made my English Muffins today, and I would agree that they are basically a kind of roll - not at all what I like an English Muffin to be! Although they look good on the outside, the inside is just too "bready" and without crannies . . . thanks for the heads-up on the Atta flour, very interesting.

ATigerInTheKitchen said...

Delicious looking breads! Just made mine and they don't have a lot of holes either. Will try a loaf next time...

Oggi said...

Janice and Tiger, it's a good thing Peter's new book will include the traditional pancake-batter recipe.:)

Unknown said...

HI I was looking for a recipe for atta bread as we Indians use this for most of our breads. I am trying my hand at baking now and thought to make a healthy bread loaf with atta. Would you mind giving me the recipe for your delicious looking atta bread?


Oggi said...

Sudha, here is another recipe for English muffin loaf (this is not the recipe I used for this post)

English Muffin Loaf
2¾ cups atta flour
1 packet active dry yeast
2 teaspoons sugar
1 teaspoon salt
¼ teaspoon baking soda
1 cup milk
1/4 cup water
fine cornmeal for dusting

In a mixing bowl, combine 2 cups flour, yeast, sugar, salt and baking soda. Heat milk and water in the microwave oven to 120°F. Add to dry ingredients and beat beat with wooden spoon until smooth. Stir in remaining flour (batter will be stiff). Do not knead. Grease bottom and sides of an 8 x 4-inch loaf pan and sprinkle with cornmeal. Spoon batter into prepared pan. Cover with plastic film and let rise in a warm place until doubled, about 45 minutes to 1 hour. Uncover and sprinkle top with more cornmeal. Bake at 400°F 35 minutes or until golden brown. Remove from pan to a wire rack to cool.

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