I've always enjoyed English Muffins, but they aren't something I ever remember to buy. I was really excited to make my own for the BBA Challenge. They looked simple enough, and they are cooked in a skillet before being transferred to the oven to bake through which looked like a lot of fun to do.
English Muffins were supposed to have been posted oh, I don't know, a month or so ago... I made them on schedule, but they were a total flop. I felt defeated and deflated and hadn't made bread since. Then I saw Nancy's post on her English Muffins and I was inspired to try again.
Everything that went wrong the first time - they were huge and round like rolls, they burned on both sides in the skillet, they had no flavor - was remedied this time around. To combat the lack of flavor, I used 5oz whole wheat bread flour and 5oz unbleached white flour. This added a wonderful complexity that was earthy, a little sweet, and very hearty. Once I put my risen dough balls into the skillet, I pressed them down with a spatula to flatten them. I may have lost my nooks and crannies that are typical of English Muffins, but I much preferred them this way. I think I may have had my burner on too high the first time around, hence the burning, so I was very careful to have a rather low flame for their time in the pan. I also used salted butter instead of oil, and let me tell you what a brilliant idea that was! It added just a hint of saltiness, that played so well off of the crunchy caramelized spots on the crust. So, so good.
I am very pleased to say that I really look forward to making these again. Though I'll probably double the batch and freeze some, because they are already gone (and were only baked last night!).
The recipe for these English Muffins can be found in The Bread Baker's Apprentice by Peter Reinhart. A must-have book if you enjoy baking bread at home.