Thursday, April 23, 2009

The Tao of Toast - English Muffins

Yeah, I know that 'tao' is pronounced 'dow' but I still think like the way the letters in the title look, and don't think that "The Tao of Dough" works.

I LOVE carbs. Especially with salt and fat. I'd be a happy eater with pasta and butter for breakfast, chips for lunch, and rice for dinner. I'd not FEEL particular well doing that, and given my metabolism I'd probably develop diabetes, so I don't eat that way. At least not very often. However, even my wonderful salad lunch today featured those homemade croutons and a hearty serving of kidney beans, for without those carbs I'd not have been satisfied.

My husband is well aware of the affair that carbs and I carry on, just like I'm aware of his affair with deli department barbeque loaf. He seems to understand why I find carbs to be the staff of my life. I do NOT understand his barbeque loaf thing. But I digress....

Carbs. Swoon.....

Okay, even I have to admit that not all carbs are created equal. There is at least one brand of potato chips I can buy that will sit around the house uneaten. I can face a loaf of white styrofoam bread and not bother buttering and eating it. White corn on the cob earns nothing but my distain - it only tastes sweet and I want my corn to taste, well, corny!


I was raised on some pretty good bread. Mostly challah, a rich egg bread, but also on good seeded Jewish deli rye bread, traditional bagels, and kaiser rolls (layered with lots of salt corned beef). A rare and wonderful treat were the occassions that the family would have english muffins.

English Muffins

Oh, those wonderful nooks and crannies! They are one of my very favorite breads. And unlike most breads, they are cooked on a stove top in a pan, so you can make them while on a camping stove or over a fire. I've not tried to make them on a rocket stove, but don't think they'd work well there - they'd probably burn on the outside before cooking through on the inside.

Of course I use English Muffins for toast with butter or strawberry jam or, when I'm in THAT kind of mood, with apple butter. But they also make an incredible sandwich. Wonderful for BLT's or club sandwiches, or after Thanksgiving a turkey with greens and a bit of whole-berry cranberry sauce or a horseradish sauce.

They just rock. They rock the most when they are freshly made.

English Muffin Recipe

In the evening, as you reflect on the day gone by, take

1 cup milk
1/2 cup water
1 tsp salt
2 tsp sugar

Mix water, milk, sugar, and salt together. Heat 'till warm, about 115 degrees. If you buy 'normal' milk in a grocery store there is no need to scald it. If you are using raw milk, you might want to do that. But, seriously, I'd not use precious raw milk to bake with! Anyway, add to that

1 tsp dry yeast
2 cups unbleached flour

and beat really well. Cover, let it rise over night. Feel free to mix it from time to time if you'd like. The long, slow rise will give it extra flavor, in my never humble opinion.

Next morning, add 2 tbs of melted butter, and another one to two cups of flour. Cover, let it double. Flour whatever you are going to roll this out on, and splock the dough from the bowl to that surface. Roll/pat/press it out 2/3 inch thick, and cut into about 3 inch rounds. I use glasses that are a size I like. Let them double again, covered. Cook on a greased pan/griddle at medium high until browned on one side, then turn and repeat on the other side. Let them cool enough so you can handle them without burning yourself, split, eat.

I will adorn mine with butter immediately, then make a hollendaise sauce and poach an egg and top them with that.

Catch you later - I have to catch the butter dripping down my chin right now!



  1. "splock"? How onomotopoetic! Once I've truly conquered the bialy recipie, I'll try this one.

  2. erm, that's recipe. ReciPIE is entirely different.

  3. You havea a bialy recipe? DAMN woman! Share it - or have Mosby share it, he loves his carbs, too.