When I first heard about the Fiesta Friday Challenge making use of two ingredients, yeast and herbs, I already had the ideal recipe to contribute to this new party hosted by Catherine at CatherineCuisine and Angie at The Novice Gardener . This recipe appeared in an issue of the Baking Sheet by King Arthur Flour (you have heard me repeatedly talk about this company) and I have been wanting to make it for the past few months. I first made a sourdough recipe a couple of years ago which turned out great and then this recipe using cheese and herbs just sounded very yummy. You can do so many things with these muffins such as a BLT with Avocado or a Tuna Melt, or toasted with butter, honey, or maybe some good homemade jam.
Yes, I not only made these delicious English Muffins but the Longaberger basket as well when we toured their factory in Frazeysburg, Ohio. Gene insisted I make one and I sure am glad I did 🙂
For Mother’s Day brunch we made (actually a sister did) Egg McMuffins. My sister made the simplest recipe by placing an egg in 3-inch ramekins, mixing it a little then microwave it for 40 seconds. Then she stirred them up a little, added a little salt and pepper, and topped it with a slice of cheese. Back into the microwave for 30 seconds and voila a perfect breakfast treat between two muffin halves that we spread with a little honey butter (1 stick butter softened or microwaved briefly; then add 1/4 cup of honey or to taste). These were a big hit – there were a few comments about how good adding a sausage patty would be; we just did not have any sausage today as this was a spontaneous breakfast treat 🙂
Soon after the “challenge” was mentioned Nancy at feastingwithfriends posted a delicious veggie strata using English muffins. Wow, it was just meant to be for me to use my homemade English muffins and make her fantastic strata, the recipe made 16 muffins so I had plenty to make this happen. Nancy is such an innovative cook and I enjoy her recipes a lot and I know you will too 🙂
Update on May 14, 2014 – I made Nancy’s strata this morning and you can find her recipe here. My friends and I thought it was absolutely delicious using her recipe and my homemade English muffins. Your family will enjoy this flavorful strata full of veggies of your choice. I will post my version later… (just changed the veggies)!
I should add that I have used yeast a lot over the years only because I have been cooking a long time. I do not make a lot of bread but working with yeast is fun just because I can make things like these muffins. These are much better from what you can buy at a store! There is nothing to be scared of – my only suggestion is to make sure your yeast is fresh and not old! Also, you need to have patience and allow enough time as often you have to let your dough rise twice then bake your bread.
Cheese and Herb English Muffins
- 1-3/4 cups (14 oz.) lukewarm milk, 90°to 100°F (I did use whole milk)
- 2 tbsp. unsalted butter, softened
- 1 tsp. salt
- 1 tbsp. sugar
- 1 large egg
- 1 tbsp. dried parsley or 2 tbsp. fresh, minced
- 1 tsp. dried thyme or 2 tsp. fresh
- 2 tbsp. fresh or 1 tbsp. dried chives (Fresh is better as I do not like dried chives)
- 1 cup Parmesan or Asiago cheese, finely grated (I used Asiago)
- 4 cups unbleached bread flour
- 2 tsp. instant yeast
- semolina or farina for sprinkling the griddle
Combine all of the ingredients in the order listed except for the last item in a mixing bowl or you can use the bucket of your bread machine. Mix and combine the dough (it will be soft) using the dough cycle of your bread machine or the paddle of your stand mixer. Of course if you do not have a stand mixer or a bread machine you can mix the dough by hand, it obviously takes longer and is harder to do. The dough should be soft, smooth, and stretchy. In my stand mixer it was about 5-8 minutes. Let the cycle on the bread finish, or scrape the dough in your mixing bowl into a rough ball; then I transferred it to a clean bowl that I oiled lightly. Cover with saran wrap that you have sprayed with a nonstick spray, then place a kitchen towel on top of the wrap. Let it rise until doubled and puffy, 1 to 2 hours. For me it looked good at 1 hour but I left it in the oven for another 30 minutes. I always turn the light on in my oven and sometimes even turn on the oven briefly to make it nice and toasty.
After the dough has risen, gently deflate it and divide into 16 pieces (they will weight just under 3 oz. each). I just eyeball it and sometimes some are bigger and or smaller than the others. Homemade is not supposed to be perfect!
I use my large griddle and sprinkle it generously with semolina. Grease the insides of the English muffin rings and place them on the unheated griddle. Grease your hands and work surface, and shape the divided dough into balls. Flatten and place the balls into the rings. I gently stretch the dough to touch the rings. By letting the dough rise in place on the griddle, you will preserve the holes inside as the yeast does its work. If you do not have two griddles (who does) place half of the muffins on a parchment-lined sheet pan and transfer them to the griddle when the first batch is cooked.
Lay a piece of parchment over the tops of the muffins and let them rise until doubled; they should come up to or slightly above the tops of the rings and look puffy.
To cook the muffins, place the griddle on low to medium heat (if in doubt lower is better). For the first 8 muffins I set my griddle to 250° and for the second batch I raised it to 275°. Cook for 8 to 10 minutes on the first side, until the edges begin to look dry. Lift them up with a spatula and take a peek underneath. When they are a nice medium brown, sprinkle the tops with more semolina, and turn them over to cook for another 8 to 10 minutes. Do not remove the rings as they help to cook the muffins. When done, the center of the muffin should read about 200°F on an instant-read thermometer and they separate from the rings. I just remove one ring and touch the center on the side of one muffin and you can tell also. Mine were not done (only 175°F). So, I baked them in the oven at 350°F for about 10 minutes. Cool before splitting with a fork or a serrated bread knife. Yields 16 muffins.
I just love my KitchenAid Professional 600 stand mixer!
After 1-1/2 hours the dough has more than doubled in size.
I deflated the dough and it is ready to be made into balls and placed inside the muffin rings. The muffins once again doubled in size after about 1 hour.
I let my dough rise in the oven; the muffin on the left was in the lower rack and the muffin on the right was on the rack nearest the oven light. Also, when I transferred the muffins from the parchment paper to the griddle they deflated some and thus were not as thick as the muffins which were placed directly on the griddle. There was no difference in taste…